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You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference green card if you are a member of a profession holding an advanced degree (master’s or higher) or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.  

Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-750.  The EB-2 green card also requires that your employer file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.  National Interest Waiver petitions provide an exception to the previous statements, as individuals eligible for such status may self-sponsor.

Below are the occupational categories and requirements:

Eligibility Criteria




Advanced Degree

The job you apply for must require an advanced degree (master’s or higher) and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).

Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.


Exceptional Ability

You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”

You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*

National Interest Waiver

Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.  Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.

You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.


* Criteria

         Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  your area of exceptional ability

         Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation 

         A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation

         Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability 

         Membership in a professional association(s)

         Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations 

         Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.


Family of EB-2 Visa Holders

Your spouse and children under the age of 18 may receive derivative green cards connected to the permanent resident status of an EB-2 green card holder.  In addition, such parties may be eligible to work during the green card application process, if certain conditions are met.