How to get an EB-2 "Employment-Based Visa: 2nd Preference" in California

EB-2 (employment-based, preference 2) visas allow foreign workers with (1) advanced degrees or (2) exceptional abilities to immigrate to California for a job.

Common professions that fall under the EB-2 category in California include UC professors, actors, and nurses.

The biggest benefit of EB-2 visas is that they come with green card status. Therefore, the immigrants may eventually be eligible to naturalize as U.S. citizens.

In this article, our California immigration lawyers discuss EB-2 immigrant visas in California, including application procedures, fees and time frames. Click on a question to jump to the answer.

Also refer to our informational articles on EB-1 visas in Los Angeles California, EB-3 visas in Los Angeles California, EB-4 visas in Los Angeles California, and EB-5 visas in Los Angeles California.

EB-2 visas may be available to foreigners with advanced degrees.

1. What is an EB-2 visa in Los Angeles, California?

EB-2 visas are meant for accomplished foreign professionals. There are three categories of EB-2 visas available:

  1. Advanced Degree: The foreigner is applying for a job in the U.S. that requires an advanced degree, which the foreigner has already earned.
  2. Exceptional Ability: The foreigner has exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
  3. National Interest Waiver: The foreigner has exception ability in the sciences, arts, or business, and they would significantly benefit the U.S. by working there.

2. How do I show I qualify for an EB-2 visa?

The supporting documentation a foreigner must produce to get an EB-2 visa turns on the visa category he/she is applying for:

Foreigners with advanced degrees may be eligible for an EB-2 visa.

Advanced Degree EB-2 visas:

Foreign workers applying for an advanced degree EB-2 visa have to show proof that he/she has:

  • an advanced degree, or
  • a baccalaureate degree and a minimum of five (5) years of post-graduate work experience in the designated area.

Exceptional Ability EB-2 visas:

Foreign workers applying for an exceptional ability EB-2 visa have to produce three (3) of the following documents:

  1. Official academic record showing that he/she has a degree in his/her area;
  2. Letters demonstrating at least ten (10) years of full-time experience in the field;
  3. A license to practice the profession;
  4. Proof that he/she commands a certain salary;
  5. Membership with a professional association;
  6. Recognition by peers, government entities, or other professional organizations; and/or
  7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility.

National Interest Waiver EB2-NIW visas:

To qualify for an EB2-NIW visa, the foreign worker must both:

  • meet at least three (3) of the above listed criteria for exceptional ability, and
  • demonstrate that working in the U.S. will benefit the U.S.

3. What is the application process for an EB-2 visa?

Visa 20application

The first step for obtaining an EB-2 visa is for the U.S. employer to obtain a labor certification (PERM). (This may not be necessary if the foreigner is eligible for a National Interest Waiver.) 

Then the U.S. employer may file the I-140 Form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Assuming the application is accepted, the foreigner will receive instructions on how to finish the process.

4. How much does it cost to get an EB-2 visa?

The processing fee for an EB-2 visa is $345.

5. How soon can I get an EB-2 visa?

The time required to get an EB-2 visa varies depending on the foreigner's home country. It may take a few months to more than a year.

6. Can my family come with me to California on an EB-2 visa?

Yes. An EB-2 visa holder's spouse and unmarried child(ren) under 21 may immigrate to the U.S.

Call a California immigration attorney...

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Call us at (855) LAW-FIRM

You may be eligible for an EB-2 visa in California if you are a foreigner of extraordinary ability. Call our Los Angeles immigration attorneys at (855) LAWFIRM for a free consultation.

Go to our California visa main page.

Also learn about our Nevada EB-2 visa lawyers.    

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