Second Preference (EB-2)

Second Preference (EB-2) INA §203(b)(2)

This preference category is for members of the professions holding advanced degrees or immigrants of exceptional abilities. The advanced degree must be higher than a bachelor’s and could be me by a BA and work experience.

The position that the Beneficiary would occupy must require an advanced degree and the person must possess the qualifications. A professional is defined in INA §101(a)(32).

National Interest Waivers are available for people who would enrich the United States. People whose jobs are on Schedule A do not have to test the labor market and do not have a job offer at the time of adjudication f the I-485.

Bachelor’s degree plus five years of experience:

A Bachelor’s degree with five years of progressive experience is the equivalent of a MA degree. 8 CFR §204.5(k)(3)(i)(B). Congressional intent shows that a person with this combination has the equivalent of an advanced degree. USCIS policy is that the BA cannot be met by a combination of experience and education but can be met by a combination of education. The five years of progressive experience must involve more responsibility and knowledge in the field of specialty.

Definition of Exceptional Ability:

Exceptional ability is defined as a degree of expertise significantly above the level ordinarily encountered. Matter of Kim, 12 I&N Dec. 758 (AV 1968). The applicant must show proof of 3 of the following:

  • Degree relating to the area of specialty;
  • Letter from employers showing 10 years of experience;
  • Licenses to practice a profession;
  • The applicant commanded a salary demonstrating exceptional ability;
  • Membership in professional association; and
  • Recognition for achievement and significant contributions to the industry.

Comparable evidence might be submitted including expert opinion letters. 8 CFR §204.5(k)(3)(iii). This includes athletes and entertainers. The two steps process in Kazarian is used to show exceptional ability.

National Interest Waivers (NIW):

A National Interest waiver is available under INA §203(B)(2)(B). The employer or the applicant can sign the petition. Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016). To qualify for the waiver, the Beneficiary must submit an ETA-9089 with a statement supporting the waiver claim. 8 CFR §204.5(k)(4)(ii). The waiver is only available for EB-2 petitions. In Dhanasar, the AAO issued new categories for the waiver. Under the ruling, the applicant must show 1) the proposed endeavor has national importance and substantial merit; 2) he or she is well-positioned to advance the endeavor, and 3) it would be beneficial for the United States to waive the labor certification. Dhanasar, at 889 no. 9.

Physicians may qualify for a Physician National Interest Waivers (PNIW). International medical graduates (IMGs) are precluded from entering the United States. However, the ground of inadmissibility does not apply in these situations:

  1. Applicant possesses a certificate from the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates, is competent in English, and the clinical skills assessment examination.  8 CFR §214.2(h)(viii)(B);
  2. Doctor of International or national renown;
  3. Not entering the United States to become a doctor, including professors, persons entering under another preference category, or when he or she enters as an asylee.

Under INA §203(b)(2)(B)(ii) if the physician is entering the United States under an offer of employment, the physician must obtain a labor certification or a national interest waiver. Some physicians may work in an underserved area to overcome the J-2 2 years requirement. To obtain this benefit, the physician must show 1) he or she must work in a health shortage area or for the VA; 2) a federal or state agency must determine that the employment would be in the national interest, and 3) must work in the area for 5 years before he o she becomes eligible for adjustment of status or immigrant visa. 8 CFR §214.2(a)-(c).

A foreign medical graduate may also apply under the regular labor certification process. 8 CFR §214.2(a)-(c).

Call us for information about EB-2 employment-based petitions for permanent residence.

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