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Advanced Degree Professionals (EB-2A)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Nov 30, 2018)

What is EB-2A immigrant visa category?

Employment-Based immigrant visas are divided into five (5) preference classes.  EB-2A is a subcategory of the second preference.  It is reserved for professionals who hold an advanced degree or its equivalent.

Do I qualify for EB-2A immigrant visa category?

You may qualify for this immigrant visa, if you hold (a) an advanced degree or (b) a bachelor's degree plus five (5) years of progressive experience in your field.

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Before filing a petition with the USCIS, your prospective employer must go through the labor certification process at the United States Department of Labor and obtain a labor certificate, which certifies that qualified U.S. workers are not available and willing to fill the position.

EB-2A visas are usually immediately available for citizens of most countries and there is no waiting time, except for processing time, to acquire this visa. You may check the visa availability of a particular visa category for your country of origin. See Priority Date & Visa Availability.

What evidence do I need to show for EB-2A classification?

To qualify for this immigrant classification, your prospective employer must present the following documents about you:

  • Academic records including transcripts and diplomas
  • Evidence of work experience, if needed
  • A labor certificate issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

Other documents, which may be submitted, include all materials submitted in support of the labor certificate, full job description (more detailed than that submitted to the DOL), and the employer's financial statement showing the ability to pay the proposed salary. The employer's financial materials need not be disclosed to the employee.

How is a petition for EB-2A classification filed?

To apply for EB-2A classification, your prospective employer must first secure a labor certificate from the United States Department Labor.  The process for obtaining labor certificate is rather extensive and is described separately. See Labor Certification (PERM).

Once your prospective employer obtains a labor certificate, the employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (USCIS Form I-140) together with extensive, supporting evidence.

To see the current USCIS fee for this petition, see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate your petition, see USCIS Processing Times.

Premium processing is available for this kind of petition, meaning that you may be able to obtain a decision in 15 calendar days.

What happens after the EB-2A classification petition is approved?

If you are in the United States and qualify, you may apply for Adjustment of Status.  If you qualify to file for adjustment of status and a visa is immediately available to you, you should file an Application for Adjustment of Status together with the petition.

If you are outside of the United States or do not qualify to file for adjustment of status, you must go through Consular Processing, to actually receive an immigrant visa.


Traveling Outside of the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Working in the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Applying for Citizenship


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