US EB-2 Visa: Employment Sponsored Visas

The U.S Immigration visa does not only cater to family and immediate relatives, it also grants visas to people who are certified to work in the U.S. The Employment Sponsored Visas would allow foreign employee/worker to work without an Employment Authorization Document, as long as they already have an employer that hired them to work and relocate to the U.S permanently. There are 5 types of employment visas and each type is designated with the letter E:

  • EB-1 Visa is the visa type for First Priority Workers. It is for highly capable people with extraordinary talent in arts, athletics, business or education, outstanding university professor or researchers and as well as executive or managers that are employed for 3 years in an overseas branch of a U.S company.
  • EB-2 Visa or Second Priority Workers Visa is for experts in their profession who hold an advanced degree or someone with exceptional abilities above the ordinary in the field of arts, business or sciences.
  • EB-3 Visa or Third Priority Workers Visa is another visa type catered for “skilled workers” who gained over 2 years of experience, professionals that possess a higher education degree than normal requirement and unskilled workers that have less than 2 years of experience (EW-3 Visa).
  • EB-4 Visa or Fourth Priority Workers Visa is for special immigrants working in different religious, government, or international organizations.
  • EB-5 Visa also called Fifth Priority Workers Visa is another visa type for venture capitalists who are willing to invest $500K to $1 million in the U.S.

Employment Sponsored Visas are only set to 140,000 visas annually and the total is allocated in the 5 visa types, thus processing may take time. Those who are interested in applying for Employment Sponsored Visas must take note that when the number of visas maxed out within the year, the remaining applications will be lined up for the succeeding years to come. U.S Visa applicants must observe the given priority dates to be able to pass immigration requests.

The next section will further discuss the details, requirements, procedures and other significant particulars of the EB-2 visa.

What is EB-2 Visa?

The EB-2 visa or also called as Second Priority Workers visa caters to the following people classified in these three groups:

  • Professionals that possess an “advanced educational degree” like having Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or higher with 5 years experience in their line of work
  • Foreign nationals that manifest exceptional abilities in the field of arts, business or sciences
  • People who can show/prove that their abilities can give contributions to the country and is in for the U.S national interest or people who have a National Interest Waiver

Assuming that you belong to any of the following groups mentioned above, then you will have the opportunity to apply for an EB-2 visa. Having an EB-2 visa will give you the following benefits such as, having a permanent residency in the U.S, acquire a Green Card, enjoy working in the field of your expertise, travel in and outside the U.S, be able apply for jobs from different states after a few years and you will also have a chance to apply for a U.S citizenship.

As mentioned earlier, the Employment Sponsored Visas are only limited to 140,000 visas annually. From the total number of visas issued annually, 28.6% is allocated for the EB-2 visa. The allotted number of visas is quite small thus, leads to more waiting time.

What Are the Requirements for the EB-2 Visa?

There are certain requirements that both the foreign employee and U.S employer must adhere to in applying for an EB-2 visa. For instance, if you are a foreign professional with an advanced degree, you must accomplish the following requirements:

  • Academic record showing evidence that you have an advanced educational degree (Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree or a U.S equivalent)
  • A document written/signed by your former employer stating that you have worked for 5 years in your line of expertise after you finished your  Bachelor’s Degree

On the other hand, to apply for an EB-2 visa as a person with exceptional abilities or with a National Interest Waiver, it’s necessary to meet three of the following requirements listed below:

  • Present documents that help confirm your achievements in art, business, sciences or any other field of expertise. Documents such as diplomas, certificate or awards.
  • Documents written/signed by your former employers stating that you have worked full-time with least 10 years’ experience in your line of expertise.
  • Present your license or certification as proof that you are capable of practicing your profession
  • Evidence that you gained high income due to your exceptional abilities
  • Proof of membership to help indicate that you are part of one or more professional associations
  • Evidence showing that you are a recognized individual by the government, professional associations or even by your peers for your accomplishments and contributions in your line of expertise
  • If you have a National Interest Waiver, an evidence is needed to confirm that your work is for the advantage/interest of the U.S government

As a U.S employer who is eager to hire and sponsor a foreign worker/employee for an EB-2 immigration visa, the following requirements must be accomplished:

  • An evidence stating that hiring a foreign worker is needed, since no U.S worker is available, competent  or willing to do the job
  • An evidence showing that U.S workers and foreign workers have equal rights and salaries, given that they are both in the same job.
  • An evidence that the U.S employer’s business is financially able to sustain and employ a  foreign worker

How to Apply for the EB-2 Visa?

There are a number of steps required for both employer and foreign employee in applying for an EB-2 visa. The EB-2 visa application is divide into 2 parts:

  • Necessary files are needed to be acquired by the U.S employer such as petitions and labor certification
  • Once approved, the foreign employee then proceeds to apply for an EB-2 visa at their home country’s U.S Embassy

Application Procedures From U.S Employer

Acquiring a Labor Certification

Obtaining labor certification is the first requirement for a U.S employer to be able to hire an employee from another country and this can be accomplished by filing the Form ETA 750 to the DOL. In this case, the U.S employer declares upon form completion that they have attempted in hiring an employee in the U.S. but could not fill the position and will be paying the foreign worker with the prevalent wage.

The DOL will process the form and will notify the employer and employee about their decision. Assuming that the certification is approved, the U.S employer can proceed to the next step, but if it gets denied, the foreign worker is not permitted to obtain an EB-2 visa.

Petition Filing

Aside from the labor certification, a petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also needed to be filed by the employer with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The employer must verify that the company is financially stable with financial statements, audits, and tax returns.

USCIS will process the petition and inform the employer about their decision. Assuming that the petition is approved, the matter will be brought to the National Visa Center (NVC), but if it gets denied, the U.S company is not allowed to employ a foreign worker.

When the approved petition reaches the NVC, a case number and invoice ID number are given. The case number and invoice ID number will be bundled with instructions and information on how to apply and will be mailed to the foreign employee’s home country. You must keep in mind that there is a limited number on EB-2 visa applications, the NVC will only dispatch the applicant’s documents when the priority date becomes current.

Application Procedures From Foreign Worker

File Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent

Completing the DS-261 form acts as the foreign worker’s application for the EB-2 visa. Then, the U.S Embassy or Consulate of their home country will process the form.

Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination

The applicant is required to get medical examinations and vaccinations that are indicated in the NVC package. These documents are then required to be signed by a licensed doctor.

Gather the Supporting Documents File

The following supporting documents must be submitted after the NVC approves the Form DS-261.

  • A passport with validity of more than 6 months after planned flight to the U.S.
  • The employment offer from your U.S employer
  • An approved labor certification
  • An approved petition
  • The confirmation page of your Form DS-261 confirmation page
  • Medical and vaccine documents signed by the doctor
  • 2 photographs that conform with Photo Requirements
  • Evidence that is fit for the category you are applying for
  • Letters that have given by former employers
  • Criminal and court records
  • Additional supporting documents may be required by the NVC depending on your situation

Be Present at the Visa Interview

After the NVC checks on your application and supporting documents, an interview will be scheduled at the U.S Embassy where you sent your application. In the interview, be clear and distinct in answering the questions about your background. In the end, the interviewer will carry out the final verdict if you will likely obtain an EB-2 visa or not.

Accept the NVC package and Travel to the U.S

Once your application for EB-2 visa is approved, a package from NVC will be sent to you. This package must only be opened when you reach the U.S. You have to present this to the immigration officer at the U.S port of entry. The immigration officers are the only ones authorized to open the package and determine if you are granted access to the U.S or not.

What are the EB-2 visa fees?

When applying for an EB-2 visa, you are accountable for paying certain fees. The DOL, USCIS and the U.S Embassy where you want to send your application will determine the cost. Here are the following fees that you have to pay:

  • DOL Labor Certification fee (employer)
  • The filing fee for USCIS Form I-140 petition (employer)
  • Processing fee for Form DS-261 (employee)
  • Medical examination fees (employee)
  • Fees incurred in getting support documents (employee)
  • Translation fees for interpreting the foreign language to English (employee)

How Long Does It Take to Process My EB-2 Visa?

EB-2 visa processing might take a while, due to a limited number of employment-based visas allowed per year. It might take a year to three or four years for your EB-2 visa to be processed. The earlier you applied, the faster your application might get processed.

Can I Bring My Family to the U.S With an EB-2 Visa?

Yes. Once your EB-2 visa is approved and valid, you can include your spouse and children below 21 years old (single/unmarried) to accompany you in the U.S. They must apply for an E-21 visa for your spouse and an E-22 visa for your children.

Given that they have successfully acquired their visas, your spouse can get a job in the U.S by securing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).