SECOND PREFERENCE: Members of Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Individuals of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, or Business

The EB-2 Green Card Category Allows for:

-Employment based Sponsorship for Applicants with higher education and an Employer Sponsor.

-Self Sponsorship where the Applicant qualifies for a National Interest Waiver (NIW).

Workers who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent; and

Workers, who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially

benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United


Any U.S. employer can file a petition in this category when the job requires an advanced degree and the noncitizen possesses such a degree. An advanced degree is defined as an academic or professional degree beyond the baccalaureate. This Employer/ Sponsorship approach will require an Employer and a Labor Certification.

There are two exceptions to the labor-certification requirement.

 First, Under the NIW process, if the foreign national will serve the national interest, labor certification may be waived.

The second exception to the labor certification requirement is for workers under DOL’s Schedule A Group I and Group II occupations.

To qualify for Schedule A, Group II, in the sciences or arts (excluding the performing arts) an individual must submit: (1) evidence of current widespread acclaim and international recognition; (2) documentation showing that their work during the past year required—and their intended work will require—exceptional ability; and (3) evidence from at least two of the following seven categories:

-Receipt of international prizes or awards for excellence in the field;

-Membership in international organizations that require outstanding achievement of their members;

-Published material about the noncitizen relating to their work in professional publications;

-The noncitizen’s participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;

-Original scientific or scholarly research contributions of major significance in the field;

-Authorship of scientific or scholarly articles in the field in professional journals with international circulation; or

-Display of the noncitizen’s work at artistic exhibitions in more than one country

National Interest Waiver (NIW) Exemption from Job Offer and Labor Certification

The national interest waiver (NIW) is a waiver of the job offer requirement for individuals wishing to immigrate to the United States in the second-preference category who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.

Under the new Matter of Dhanasar test, in order to be granted an NIW, a petitioner must meet all the following criteria:

– The foreign national’s proposed endeavor must have both substantial merit and national importance. A

wide range of fields of endeavors may qualify, including business, entrepreneurs, science, technology,

culture, health, and education.

-The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. To determine whether the

foreign national meets this requirement, USCIS will look to their education; skills; knowledge and record

of success in related or similar efforts; a model or plan for future activities; progress toward achieving

the end; progress toward achieving the endeavor; and the interest of potential customers, users, investors

or other relevant entities or individuals.

On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job-offer and labor-certification

requirements of the EB-2 category.

To meet this requirement, USCIS will consider (among other factors):

whether the United States would benefit from the foreign national’s contributions even if qualified U.S.

workers are otherwise available, and whether the national interest of the foreign national’s contributions

is sufficiently urgent to warrant foregoing the labor certification process.

On January 21, 2022, USCIS announced updated guidance on national interest waivers, including a discussion of unique considerations related to individuals with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and entrepreneurs.

New STEM EB-2 NIW Guidelines for 2022

STEM graduates now have a carved-out path to Permanent Residency.

Evidence must demonstrate that a STEM endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.

  • The person possesses an advanced STEM degree, particularly a Ph.D.;

  • The person will be engaged in work furthering a critical and emerging technology or other STEM area important to U.S. competitiveness; and

  • The person is well positioned to advance the proposed STEM endeavor of national importance.

The three factors USCIS considers for a national interest waiver are whether:

  • The person’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.

  • The person is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and

  • It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements.

Please contact us for more information and to determine eligibility.

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