What is an EB2 Visa?
An EB-2 Visa is an employment based visa at the second level of preference from the eyes of the United States government. It is one of the most popular visa types for foreigners who work in the United States. More broadly, there are three types of employment based immigration routes to become permanent residents: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3. They are in decreasing order of priority, which often indicates there are more applicants for EB-2 than EB-1.
EB-1 visa targets foreigners with “extraordinary ability” in their respective field. EB-1 is applicable to professionals in almost every field including sciences, engineering, arts, education, and athletics. In order to qualify as an individual with an “extraordinary ability,” applicants must demonstrate a track record of “sustained national or international acclaim.” Examples would include international award winning researchers fleeing their home country from war.
EB-2 visa is intended for foreign nationals with an advanced degree or extensive work experience. An example would be an engineering educated in India applying for EB- via a information technology company as the sponsor. EB-3 visa is awarded to foreign nationals with valuable work skills that would contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy.
As of 2018, the United States government issues 40,000 visas for each EB category. In recent years, there has been an increase in applicants for EB visas. However, the government has not increased the number of visas awarded to applicants proportionally. EB visas have continued to be a contentious topic in U.S. politics as the country lacks clarity on its immigration policy.
Please visit our page on Citizenship Through Employment for more information.
What is a Priority Date?
A priority date is the date at which a petitioner or potential immigrant to the United States has indicated their interest in obtaining a visa to the USCIS. The date is assigned once the USCIS approves of the immigration petition. Priority dates act as a queuing system for applicants due to the sheer amount the U.S. receives each year.
Historically, the popularity and appeal of the EB-2 Visa stems from two major factors. Since the priority date depends on the queue of the applicants, the wait time is usually shorter than other paths to permanent residency.
However, EB-2 visas also have disadvantages that have become more apparent in recent years. Firstly, processing time has increased with an increasing number of applicants. Secondly, EB2 visa is subject to the PERM process mandated by the Department of Labor. PERM process involves the U.S. Department of Labor evaluating if the position of the applicant can be fulfilled by a U.S. citizen with similar credentials. In order for an employer to sponsor a foreign worker through an EB-2 visa, the employer must undergo a PERM labor certification. Once certified, the employer must openly advertise for the vacant position within the company for each EB-2 visa sponsorship. The employer must disclose the job responsibilities as well as salary information.
Who is Eligible for EB2 Visa?
Within EB-2, applicants can submit their petition in one of the following three categories.
Professionals with advanced degrees are eligible for this category. Applicants must have 1) a bachelor’s degree with significant experience relevant to the job, 2) a master’s degree in a relevant field of study, or 3) an advanced degree such as Ph.D, law, or a medical degree. Applicants must submit the following supporting documents:
- An extended offer from a PERM certified employer
- Proof of an advanced degree OR proof of bachelor’s degree with 5 years of relevant experience
Applicants in this category must have at least 10 years of experience in a relevant field along with an advanced degree. Similar to EB-2(A), applicants must already have an offer from a PERM certified employer. Note EB-2(B) applicants can be across multiple fields including arts, business, science, or athletics. Applicants must submit the following supporting documents:
- Proof of academic qualifications in the relevant field
- Proof of 10 years of relevant experience
- Proof of relevant licenses (e.g., accreditation from professional associations)
Applicants in this category must demonstrate their activities will results in assisting the United States. The application includes a National Interest Waiver or proof of their claim. Applicants must submit the following supporting documents:
- Proof the U.S. will benefit from their activities
What are the EB2 Priority Date Predictions for Next Month/Year?
Since EB2 priority date varies by the country and queue time, predicting the wait time is difficult. Best way to estimate is by examining the current wait time for each visa type and filing country. Below also includes important notes each applicants should review on their applications.
- Priority Dates are listed in the past. If your priority date is earlier than the listed priority date on the visa bulletin, there is a visa available for your situation.
- In certain circumstances, priority dates may shift backwards if the caseload was larger than expected but in most times, priority dates move forward.
- If labeled “C”, there are immediate visas available for that country, in that visa type preference level
- If labeled “U”, there are no visas available for that category at this time
Below chart shows the EB2 priority date as of July 2018.
|Employment- Based||All Chargeability|
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||08FEB16||C||08FEB16||C||C|
(C5 and T5)
(I5 and R5)
To find out more about EB2 Priority Dates or to look up estimates, please visit the USCIS Processing Time page.