EB-2: Requirements & Procedures

Foreign Medical Professionals

The Employment Based, second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa category is for Foreign Medical Professionals (FMP) with advanced degrees and an exceptional ability in the fields of science and medicine. An approved Labor Certification and valid job offer must generally accompany the EB-2 petition. However, a FMP may request an exemption from the labor certification and job offer requirements through an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition. Below are three EB-2 “Sub-Categories” applicable to the Foreign Medical Professional:

I. EB-2: Foreign Medical Professional Holding Advanced Degree.

The FMP must be applying for a job that requires an advanced degree. The FMP must actually possess: (A) an advanced degree; or (B) its equivalent (Baccalaureate Degree + Five (5) Years Progressive Work Experience).

  1. Advanced Degree. The USCIS requires the FMP to possess a degree beyond a Bachelor’s degree – such as a Ph.D or Master’s. The degree must be from a United States accredited University or a recognized and accredited advanced degree from a foreign country.
  2. Baccalaureate Degree Plus Five (5) Years Progressive Work Experience. If the FMP does not hold an Advanced Degree (i.e. Ph.D), the FMP must demonstrate at least five (5) years of progressive working experience in the profession and his/her area of expertise. A combination of lower-education and working experience will not meet the USCIS requirements for “equivalent”. To be equivalent this must be a recognized [baccalaureate] degree plus 5-years progressive work experience.

If you believe you may qualify as an EB-2 “Advanced Degree” Petitioner, please complete the EB-2: FMP Holding Advanced Degrees Questionnaire. An Immigration Lawyer from our Foreign Medical Professional Practice will evaluate your submission and contact you directly.

NOTE: Merely having an advanced degree or its equivalent is not enough to qualify for an EB-2 petition. The job that the Foreign Medical Professional is seeking must require this within the job description. If you believe you may qualify for the “Advanced Degree” category and do not have a job offer, please see the National Interest Waiver discussion below.
II. EB-2: Foreign Medical Professional with Exceptional Ability in the Sciences.

An FMP must establish that their exceptional ability in the field of science and medicine (or business) will “substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, education interest, or welfare of the United States of America.”

  1. Exceptional Ability. The FMP must have a recognized degree and an established expertise that is significantly above that normally found within the specific area of science or medicine.

If you believe you may qualify for this category and have a job offer, please complete and submit the EB-2: FMP Exceptional Ability in Sciences Questionnaire. An Immigration Lawyer from our Foreign Medical Professional Practice will evaluate your submission and contact you directly.

NOTE: If you believe you may qualify for the “Exceptional Ability” category and do not have a job offer, please see the National Interest Waiver discussion below.
III. EB-2: National Interest Waiver.

The EB-2 immigration categories above require the Foreign Medical Professional to have a job offer and a Labor Certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). However, the FMP may request a waiver of the offer of employment and a waiver of the labor certification by establishing that his/her admission to permanent residence in the United States will be in the National Interest. In other words, the NIW does not require a specific offer of employment.

Altogether, an FMP filing an EB-2 “National Interest Waiver (NIW)” petition must qualify as either having “Exceptional Ability” or an “Advanced Degree” as defined above.

  • NIW petitions may be filed by the FMP directly (i.e. without a sponsor);
  • NIW petitions may be filed by the employer (i.e. sponsor);
  • While the NIW is pending the FMP may make additional green card application(s) in other categories;
  • An FMP may apply for an NIW even if you are on an F1 status.

While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not established specific criteria for approving National Interest Waiver petitions, many USCIS examiners take the following general factors into consideration:

  • Improving the U.S. economy;
  • Improving wages and working conditions of U.S. workers;
  • Developing education and training programs for U.S. children and under-qualified workers;
  • Improving health care;
  • Providing more affordable housing for young and/or older, poorer U.S. residents;
  • A request from an interested U.S. government agency or improving international cultural understanding

Please read more details about the National Interest Waiver requirements here. If you believe you may qualify for an EB-2 (NIW) category please complete and submit the EB-2: National Interest Waiver Questionnaire. An Immigration Lawyer from our Foreign Medical Professional Practice will evaluate your submission and contact you directly.

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