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EB-2 green cards for professionals holding advanced degrees allow companies to sponsor a foreign national if the position requires an advanced degree. In addition, the foreign national must meet any other requirements set forth in the labor certification. Additionally, a company may sponsor a foreign national if they possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. This requires the foreign national to establish they have expertise significantly above that ordinarily possessed by those who work in the field. To establish “exceptional ability”, the foreign national must submit evidence to meet at least 3 of the following criteria:  

  • Official academic records showing that the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award; from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning related to his/her area of exceptional ability;
  • Letters documenting the foreign national has at least 10 years of full-time experience in his/her occupation;
  • The foreign national is licensed to practice his/her profession or holds certification for his/her profession or occupation;
  • Evidence that the foreign national has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates his/her exceptional ability;
  • The foreign national is a member of a professional association(s);
  • Recognition for the foreign national’s achievements and significant contributions to his/her industry or field by his/her peers, government entities, and/or professional or business organizations; and/or
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility.

National Interest Waivers (EB-2 NIW) are available to some foreign nationals with advances degrees or exceptional abilities. A National Interest Waiver (NIW) eliminates the requirement of a permanent job offer and thus, the labor certification because your employment would be in the interest of the U.S. This allows you to self-petition for an immigrant visa. While you may petition for yourself if you qualify for an NIW, an employer may also file an EB-2 NIW immigrant visa petition on your behalf. Employers will often opt for the EB-2 NIW immigrant visa petition, if available, because it allows them to avoid what can be a lengthy and expensive labor certification and recruitment process. Regardless of whether you self-petition or an employer sponsors you, it must be established that your employment would greatly benefit the United States. To qualify for an NIW, you must establish:  

  • Your work has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • You are well-positioned to advance your proposed endeavor; and
  • When balancing your qualifications and proposed work, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus, the requirement of a labor certification.

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