The EB-2 classification is the second preference level of employment-based green cards, meant for foreign nationals who possess exceptional ability or advanced degrees. It has three subdivisions, namely:
- For advanced degree holders;
- For those with exceptional ability; and
- For those with a National Interest Waiver.
How to Apply for EB-2 Visa
To qualify for an EB-2 employment-based green card, you must have a job offer from a prospective employer. The employer will need to begin the process by requesting a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) from the U.S. Department of Labor. This first process usually takes a few months. If you have a National Interest Waiver approved, you will not need a job offer or PERM.
After getting the PERM, the next step in the application process will be with the USCIS. Your employer will proceed to file an I-140 on your behalf. Once approved, the I-140 will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The NVC will notify you and your employer of the receipt of your petition and will also give you a priority date, which serves as your place on the EB-2 visa queue. You will have to wait for the date to become “current” before you can apply for your EB-2 green card.
After that, your current location will determine what goes into your green card application process. If you are already in the United States, you will need to file an I-485 to adjust your status. If you are outside the United States, you will need to apply for a visa at the nearest United States embassy in your country of residence. This is known as consular processing.
You must ensure you follow the given instructions to avoid delay. Depending on the number of people ahead of you, your priority date may take several months or even years before becoming current. While waiting for the priority date, you can begin preparation for your EB-2 green card interview. Once your priority date is about to become current, you will be sent a notification to that effect.
How to Prepare for EB-2 Green Card Interview
Whether you are using consular processing or you are already in the U.S. and are using adjustment of status, it is essential to prepare for the interview before the actual date. The following must be done before the interview date:
A Medical Examination
You and each derivative beneficiary of the visa application will need to schedule and complete a medical examination along with any required vaccinations to determine your admissibility into the United States on the basis of your health. This examination must be conducted by an authorized physician designated by the embassy or the USCIS.
You can contact the embassy or the USCIS on how to locate an authorized physician nearest to you. After undergoing the exam, the doctor may give you an envelope containing the results of the exam or send it directly to the embassy or the USCIS. If the envelope is given to you, do not open it, you must bring it to the interview sealed.
Gather the Required Documents
You will need to be sure that you have all the required documents and that they correspond with the answers you’ve entered into your petition and every other form you have submitted. Also, if you’ve changed your address since you began the process, or if you have changed your marital status, you will need to notify the immigration office.
Guidelines and the required documents may vary among different embassies. It is essential to review the instruction page of the embassy you are applying through to be sure of the specific items required of you. For example, some embassies do not allow visa applicants to bring cell phones to the interview.
What to Bring to EB-2 Interview
Again, this may vary based on your location and whether or not you are already in the U.S. The following are some of the items usually required at an EB-2 interview:
- An unexpired passport that is valid for the next 6 months
- Your I-94 record
- Two color passport photographs – 2×2 inches with a white background. See the DOS photo requirements
- Your medical report given to you by the authorized physician
- Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable
- Your advance parole card, if applicable
- Your educational certificates
- Your birth and marriage certificates
- A government-issued identification, e.g. driver’s license
- A letter from your employer confirming your employment offer
- Documents showing tax payments
- An original court-certified record, if you have been arrested or convicted of any crime in the past
- A letter of a job offer from your sponsoring employer.
- An I-4845 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability, if applicable
- If any of the documents are written in any language other than English, you will need to submit an English translation of it.
- Any additional documents listed on the embassy website
If you submit incomplete documentation, the immigration officer will not be able to complete the interview process, and the decision will not be made on your application. The process will be put on hold until you bring the required evidence.
Attending EB-2 Visa Interview
On the day of the interview, ensure you arrive at least 20 minutes before the scheduled time. If you have derivative beneficiaries (spouse and/or children under the age of 21) on the petition, they will also need to attend the interview. Although immigration officers have the option to waive interview for minors who are under 14, this is not always guaranteed.
In any case, take everyone whose names appear on the application along with you, and ensure that each person has the required documentation with them. Depending on the officer’s discretion, a joint interview may be conducted for the whole family or a separate session for each person. Either way, everyone needs to be truthful in answering the questions to avoid giving contradicting accounts.
Examples of EB-2 Interview Questions to Expect
As the interview begins, the officer will go through your file and begin to ask you questions off your documents and forms. This is to ensure that your answers match the information on your application.
The questions are asked on a case-by-case basis, and will mostly be about your biographic information, your job, your qualifications, or your employer. Some of the usual EB-2 visa questions you can expect include:
- The organization you are going to work for
- Your qualification, training, and past job experience in your career
- Whether you are still going to have the same job, salary, and roles as mentioned in your I-140 or if there have been any changes
- Your current resident status if you are already in the U.S.
- Your admissibility, such as previous arrest, conviction, immigration violations, or misrepresentations
What Happens After the EB-2 Interview?
In most cases, the decision will be made at the end of the interview, and the EB-2 visa petition will be either approved or denied. In some cases, however, there may be a need for further internal processing or additional documentation. If this applies to you, you will be informed by the officer. For an approved case, you will not receive your green card immediately, but you’ll be given a temporary document. The document you will receive will depend on the location of the interview.
For a consular processing interview, you will be given a “visa packet” after your successful EB-2 interview. You will have to pay the USCIS immigrant fee, which will be used to process your visa packet and produce your green card. Do not open the visa packet when you get it. You will need to take it with you when traveling to the U.S. and give it to the Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry.
If the CBP officer inspects you and deems you fit to be admitted into the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident, then you will be able to enter, reside and work in the U.S. as an EB-2 lawful resident. Within 45 days after arriving in the U.S., your green card should be mailed to you.
For an adjustment of status interview in the U.S., you will be given an I-551 stamp on your passport, which will serve as temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status. A few weeks after this, your physical green card will be mailed to you.
How VisaNation Law Group Immigration Attorneys Can Help
One good thing about the EB-2 visa is that as stringent as the requirements are, there is a privilege of having an attorney with you at the interview. VisaNation Law Group’s highly experienced EB-2 attorneys will help you file your EB-2 petition, give you the best legal counsel before and during your interview, and ensure you acquire your green card without any delay. To get in touch with a VisaNation Law Group attorney, you can schedule an appointment with us today by filling out this contact form.