EB-2 nonimmigrant status is awarded to awarded to individuals who fall into the second employment-based preference category. To qualify for this preference category (EB-2), an individual must meet all relevant EB-2 visa requirements, as outlined by USCIS. At a glance, foreign national applicants must satisfy at least one of the three criteria:
The EB-2 green card is for foreign nationals that can satisfy at least one of the following three qualifications:

  • An “advanced degree” and a job offer from a U.S. employer. Acceptable advanced degrees can include – Master’s (MA, MS), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), law (JD), medicine (MD) and others.
  • “Exceptional ability” in the arts, sciences, or business. The foreign national must have a job offer from an American employer or qualify under the National Interest Waiver provision.
  • Certification as a physician who agrees to practice in an underserved area of the USA.

Foreign nationals with no advanced degree often apply for the Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3) Immigrant Visa green card for skilled workers with at least two years of work experience; however, EB3 processing times are typically longer than those for the EB-2 because of the greater number of applicants. Because some individuals may meet the guidelines for both types of visa, it is important that applicants understand, What is the Difference Between EB-2 and EB-3 Visas? There are some significant benefits that come with an EB-2 visa. For example, when compared to other employment based visas, the EB-2 application process is generally faster. However, qualifying as an EB-2 candidate can be complicated, especially if an applicant is unsure how they can best meet EB-2 requirements. This article will discuss some of the methods for securing an EB-2 visa, including qualifying for EB-2 without an advanced degree.

The Difference Between “Exceptional” and “Extraordinary” Ability

It is important not to confuse “exceptional ability” (required for EB-2 status) with “extraordinary ability”, which is required for EB-1 visas and statuses. EB-1 visa requirements are generally more difficult to satisfy than EB-2 visa requirements. To learn about the requirements for the three types of EB-1 visas, please review:

Qualifying for EB2 without an Advanced Degree

To qualify under exceptional ability without an advanced degree, the foreign national must demonstrate superior skills compared to those of others in the arts, sciences, or business, and such skills also must be of economic, educational, or cultural importance to the USA. To demonstrate satisfy exceptional ability, the foreign national must present at least three of the following six qualifications:

  • A license or certificate pertaining to the field, trade, occupation, or profession.
  • A degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or institution within the field of exceptional ability.
  • Documentation of full-time experience of at least 10 years in the field, trade, occupation, or profession for which the foreign national applies. Letters of recommendation letters are acceptable as documentation.
  • Documentation of achievements, awards, and contributions in the discipline, field, or profession.
  • Membership in professional or scholarly organizations.
  • Documentation of earnings in accordance with or indicative of exceptional ability.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may waive the qualification requirement of an employment offer if the applicant’s exceptional ability is of important national interest.

Exceptional Ability v National Interest Waiver

The exceptional ability qualification for the EB-2 immigrant visa requires an employment offer or Department of Labor certification, but USCIS may waive this requirement under the National Interest Waiver provision if the applicant’s abilities can benefit the USA. To qualify, the applicant’s proposed work must impact the entire USA positively as to national culture, economy, education, employment, environment, or housing. The foreign national’s work must have a significant impact of magnitude higher than that of an available citizen worker.  For full information on requirements for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver, visit:

Consider Professional Legal Assistance

Applicants should be aware that the USCIS monitors exceptional ability and National Interest Waiver cases closely. Because of this, it is highly recommended to consult an immigration attorney before pursuing an employment-based visa. Understanding your best options before filing may save you an enormous amount of time, energy, and money. Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC has extensive experience managing employment-based visa cases for U.S. employers and foreign-born workers.

To learn more about your options and hear how we can assist you, call our offices or send us a message online with a description of your case. We offer consultations at our offices or by phone so that you can make a. We look forward to assisting you.


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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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