Employment-Based Immigration Second Preference Category – Professionals with Advanced Degrees & Persons with Exceptional Ability (E2)

The employment-based second preference category is divided into:

Professionals with Advanced Degrees

Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.

Persons with Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, or Business

Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field.

Filing Process

A specific offer of employment is required in order to qualify for immigration in the employment-based second preference category. The prospective U.S. employer must contact the local state employment office for information on filing for the labor certification to show that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the proposed employment. If the labor certification is approved, the certification is filed together with the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Aliens may apply for exemption from the job offer and labor certification, if the exemption would be in the national interest. In this case the alien may file the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, along with evidence of the national interest.

Separate petitions are not required for the applicant’s spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age; these family members will be able to apply for an immigrant visa along with the principal applicant.

Note: The decision on whether a person is qualified for registration in the employment-based second preference category is made by USCIS. Questions about eligibility for such status or filing a petition should be addressed to the appropriate USCIS office. The Embassy cannot answer questions concerning eligibility to register in this category.

The issuance of visas in the employment-based category is subject to an annual numerical limitation. Check the Visa Bulletin for the latest priority dates.

Once the petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).