- What is the EB2 visa?
- What are the EB2 Visa requirements for an Advanced Degree (EB2A) application?
- What are the EB2 Visa requirements for an Exceptional Ability (EB2B) application?
- What are the EB2 Visa requirements for a National Interest Waiver (EB2C) application?
- EB2 Visa application process
- What are the documents needed for the visa interview?
- EB2 Visa interview requirements
- Medical examinations and vaccinations
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the EB2 visa?
The EB2 visa also known as the EB2 green card, is a second preference employment-based visa that allows Canadians that hold an advanced degree (and can prove their exceptional ability) to reside in the US under permanent resident status. To be eligible for this visa, you must have one of the following:
- An advanced university degree or its equivalent
- Exceptional ability in the field of arts, business, or science.
You must be able to display that you have expert knowledge and significant experience within your field of expertise.
EB2 visas are allocated across three different tiers:
- EB2A Visa – Advanced Degree
- EB2B Visa – Exceptional Ability
- EB2C Visa – National Interest Waiver
The US immigration Department can only approve 40,000 green card applications for each of the EB2 subcategories each year.
What are the EB2 Visa requirements for an Advanced Degree (EB2A) application?
To be eligible for an EB2A Visa, you will need to have the following:
- You must hold an advanced degree in your field or its foreign equivalent
- Have five years of post-baccalaureate or any other progressive work experience within your field of expertise
- You must meet the other requirements specified in your labor certification
You will need to provide evidence of the above conditions by providing relevant documentation and submit this with your EB2 Visa application. You will need to provide proof of your advanced degree/s such as any of the following:
- Have an official academic record showing that you hold a US advanced degree, or an equivalent from Canada or elsewhere
- Have an official academic record proving that you hold a US baccalaureate degree, or an equivalent from Canada or elsewhere
- Have letters from either your current or former employers, stating that you have a minimum of at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience within your specialized field
- Have documentation proving you hold a doctoral degree or a foreign equivalent
What are the EB2 Visa requirements for an Exceptional Ability (EB2B) application?
Exceptional ability means that you possess “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, art, or business”. To prove that you have such exceptional ability, you will need to provide at least three of the following documentation:
- Official academic records proving that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from either a university, college, school, or other higher educational- institution relating specifically to your area of expertise
- Proof that you have at least 10 years of full-time experience within your chosen field
- Proof of your license to practice your profession and/or certification for your occupation or profession
- Substantial evidence that shows that you have been receiving remuneration or salary for services directly relating to your exceptional ability
- Proof of membership in professional associations directly relating to your field of expertise
- Documentation displaying recognition from your peers, government entities, or professionals within the business, of your significant contribution or achievements within your area of expertise
- Any other comparable evidence of your exceptional ability that you think would be applicable
What are the EB2 Visa requirements for a National Interest Waiver (EB2C) application?
If you believe that you have exceptional ability and that your employment within the United States would greatly benefit the country, you may be able to request that the Labor Certification be waived by applying for an EB2C Visa, national interest waiver.
To convince the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) that your exceptional ability will greatly benefit the US and that you should be allowed to immigrate without yet having received a job offer, you must provide evidence of an advanced degree or exceptional ability. You must also provide evidence that you meet the criteria of the national interest waiver, which are as follows:
- Your proposed endeavor has substantial national importance as well as merit
- That you are in a well-positioned advantage point, that you will be able to advance the proposed endeavor
- You will need to provide proof that it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of the job offer, and therefore the labor certifications
EB2 Visa application process
To begin the application process for an EB2A or EB2B Visa, your potential employer must first file Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker). With this application, your employer must be able to demonstrate that they will be able to continually pay you the offered wage whilst you are working in the US. To prove that they have the ability to do so, the employer will need to submit a federal tax return, an annual report, or an audited financial statement.
For an employer to be eligible to sponsor a foreign worker on an EB2 Visa, they must first file with the US Department of Labour for Permanent Labor Certification using the Program Electronic Management Review system (PERM). PERM allows a US employer to advocate for an immigrant to travel and live in the US permanently, and the primary goal of this objective is to prove that there is no one in the US who is willing, or capable of providing the intellect or skills that you can bring from Canada. Obtaining this certification can be a lengthy and costly process.
To be eligible for this program they must meet the following requirements:
- They must be able to certify that a suitable job is available in a specialized professional field
- They must be able to show that the job is also available to US workers already in the United States
- They must be able to prove that a foreign worker is required
- They must be able to prove that the pay rate for the job is at the prevailing industry rate
The employer must be able to show that no qualified American workers are willing and/or available for the employment role in question, by going through an extensive recruiting process.
Once your employer has filed this petition on your behalf, it is then a matter of waiting for a priority date, which is when a spot opens up in the Visa Bulletin. Once the space has been opened up, the US embassy or consulate will call you for an interview.
If you are seeking a national interest waiver (EB2C), you can self-petition with form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker).
What are the documents needed for the visa interview?
Once you have been invited to attend a Visa interview, you’ll be asked to bring along some original documents with you, which may include:
- A passport, that must be valid for at least six months beyond the date that you intend to enter the US
- Confirmation page of Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration application)
- A letter from your employer confirming your employment in the US
- Your completed medical examination and proof of vaccination forms
- Two photographs that meet US Visa photograph standards
- Any other relevant immigration documents received after your petition was filed
- Marriage or birth certificates for your dependents
EB2 Visa interview requirements
Like all other visa applications, part of the process is to attend an interview at the local US Embassy or Consulate in Canada.
During this interview, you will be sworn in, and have your photo ID checked. You will then be asked a variety of questions regarding your EB2 application, such as information about your background, your qualifications, details about your job offer in the US, and who your employer is.
Any dependents who are also on your visa application must attend an interview as well unless they are a child under the age of 14 years old. If you are attending the interview with your spouse or children, they will be asked questions that are based on proving their relationship with you, such as how long you and your spouse have been married, and details of when and where the children were born. It is best to go prepared and bring your certificate of marriage and birth to support these claims.
Once the immigration official is satisfied with your answers, your visa will be approved.
Medical examinations and vaccinations
To be approved for an immigrant visa, applicants must complete a medical evaluation proving that they are healthy enough to enter and live in the United States permanently. You must also be able to provide evidence that you have received all of the required vaccinations. Instructions for the medical examination and required vaccinations will be sent to you in the first NVC packet. All medical forms must be signed by a licensed doctor and will be included with all the other documentation.
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The processing time of any visa will vary depending on which country you are applying from, and whether or not there is a USCIS backlog of visa applications. The EB2 Visa processing time will also depend on the time it takes for your priority spot to become available in the Visa Bulletin.
On average, the processing time for Form I-140 is around six to nine months. If you wish to Fast-track your application for form I-140, you may request a premium processing service by filing form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) and paying the $2,500 fee.
By filing for this, the expedited service will process your visa application within 15 calendar days. However, the service is not available for applicants who are seeking the EB2C visa (National Interest Waiver).
If you require a PERM Labour Certification, this process can add an additional eight months to 2 years to the whole process. This largely depends on how your employer conducts the employment processes, and whether or not they are already audited for it.
Visa fees may vary depending on your circumstances, but as a general rule, the fees involved in an EB2 Visa application will include the following:
- Form I-140 (if you are self-petitioning): $700
- Form for DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration application): $325
- Form I-485 (Adjustment of status): $1225 (this is the form you need to fill out if you are already in the US under a different kind of visa, and want to adjust your status to the EB2 Visa)
- USCIS Immigrant fee $220
It should be noted that your US employer will be responsible for covering any fees that are related to the PERM application
You may need to allow extra costs as well if you need to provide biometrics, proof of vaccinations, and medical examinations.