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What is an EB-2 Advanced Degree I-140 Petition?

If you’re a member of a profession, have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or have extraordinary abilities, you can be qualified for an employment-based, second preference (EB-2) permanent worker visa (green card). This writing will focus on the advanced degree or equivalent option.

What is an Advanced Degree or Equivalent?

An advanced degree is any academic or professional degree earned in the United States or abroad that is higher than a baccalaureate. The equivalent of a master’s degree is a four-year bachelor’s degree from the United States or a foreign country plus five years of progressive work experience in the field. The worker must also have received a job offer from a U.S. employer. The U.S. firm giving the employment must seek labor certification before a foreign citizen can apply for an EB-2 Advanced Degree green card. 28.6% of employment-based green cards annually available are allocated to the EB-2 category.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) labor certification confirms that the company has conducted a sufficient employment search and has correctly concluded that there are no suitable U.S. workers who are willing and available to accept the position, necessitating the employer’s use of foreign labor.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • An official academic record showing you have a U.S. advanced degree (or a foreign equivalent degree); or
  • An official academic record showing you have a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent degree) and letters from current or former employers showing you have at least five years of progressive work experience in your field after you earned your bachelor’s degree.
  • The “progressive” aspect of the experience requires that throughout the course of the five years, the worker’s level of responsibility, the complexity of the activities they undertook, and the knowledge they acquired in that role all had to advance.

How do I Apply for an EB-2 Advanced Degree Green Card?

The EB-2 green card requires employer sponsorship, much like the majority of employment-based visas do. You can only self-sponsor if you are eligible for a National Interest Waiver.  The U.S. employer will start the application process by submitting a PERM Labor Certification application to the Department of Labor (DOL) on Form ETA 9089 and later file the I-140 petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with original PERM Certification and other supporting documents. Upon approval of I-140 Petition, you can choose to submit an adjustment of status petition to the USCIS if you are in the United States legally as a nonimmigrant and an immigrant visa is immediately available to you. If you are outside the United States, you will need to process your immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of the priority date (the date the labor certification was filed) and continuing until you obtain lawful permanent residence status.

You can pay an extra cost for premium processing to shorten the length of time it takes to process your EB-2 Advanced Degree I-140 petition to just 15 days. Although it won’t raise your chances of being accepted, it might shorten the amount of time you have to wait for a response.