EB2 PERM Certification:

The second preference category of employment-based immigration includes: members of professions holding advanced degrees and aliens of exceptional ability. Also included in this category are physicians intending to practice medicine in underserved areas and Soviet scientists. As a general rule, a labor certification (see Permanent Labor Certification) is required, although in some cases a national interest waiver is available. See also Visa Bulletin section for more information on visa availability.

Members of the Professions with Advanced Degrees – Advanced degree is any degree above a baccalaureate degree. However, this category is also for individuals with a baccalaureate degree and at least 5 years progressive experience in the professions. The combination of a baccalaureate degree and 5 years experience in the professions is deemed equivalent to a Master’s degree. But, if a PhD is required for the particular profession, the alien must possess the doctoral degree (cannot use equivalent work experience).

Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the sciences, arts or business – This subcategory includes individuals who possess a level of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts or business. For the purposes of this category, athletics are to be considered an art. Proof of exceptional ability will include any three of the following:

  • Degree relating to area of exceptional ability
  • Letter from current or former employer/s showing at least 10 years experience
  • License to practice profession if it is required
  • Evidence that the individual has commanded a salary or remuneration demonstrating exceptional ability
  • Membership in professional association/s
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organization.

If any of the above items are not applicable, submission of other comparable evidence will be allowed. Such evidence may include expert opinions letters.

In the EB-2 category, if you are a worker with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, a labor certification is not required if the alien can demonstrate that granting the petition is in the national interest and files a National Interest Waiver application (“NIW”). There are two kinds of NIW applications available: the standard case and the physician NIW. See section on National Interest Waiver.

Foreign physicians may obtain immigrant visas (“green cards”) through EB-2 category by filing a labor certification. Available through the EB-2 category is the Physician National Interest Waiver which relieves petitioners from the labor certification process. NIW green cards are available only to physicians who agree to work full time in a designated health professional shortage area or in VA hospital and where a federal agency or state department of public health has determined that the physician’s work is in the public interest. Physicians who entered the U.S. before Jan 9, 1978 and have been practicing since that time may obtain a green card as a Special Immigrant Physician.

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