What Is the Difference Between the EB-1 and EB-2 Visa in California?

You are looking to begin your academic career in the U.S. with an EB visa, and you have narrowed down your employment options to some exciting job offers. Unfortunately, you’re not sure which degree category would suit you best—or if you have the requisite experience to have your work visa approved.

While there are a few differences between EB-1 and EB-2 visas for academics and professors, the biggest difference is the amount of awards and experience required for an EB-1 visa. For instance, it may be easier for you to obtain the EB-2 visa if your work has not been published and you have not received any awards other than your advanced degrees.

In order to qualify for a visa, EB-2 advanced degree candidates must possess the following:

  • A permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. Not only must you have a valid job offer, you must be able to prove that the job requires the skills and knowledge in your field conferred by your degree. Your employer must also file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf.
  • Experience. To qualify for an EB-2 visa, the job you apply for must require the advanced degree that you possess. If you do not have an advanced degree, you must possess an equivalent amount of knowledge and experience—such as a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in your field.
  • Documentation. You must be able to provide an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree—or a foreign equivalent degree. If you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree and additional experience, you must submit academic transcripts as well as letters from current or former employers demonstrating at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the same field as your current job offer.
  • Foreign labor certification. All applications for EB-2 visas will require approval of Form ETA-750 (individual labor certification) by the Department of Labor. Labor certification is not required for EB-1 worker visas.
Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney