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The Advanced Degree Holder’s Guide to Securing a Green Card

By Keshab Raj Seadie | April 29, 2016

visa stamp travel If you are an advanced degree holder looking to earn a permanent resident status in the United States, you will want to apply for an EB-2 green card, or an Advanced Degree Visa. Many employment-based visa applicants, especially those from highly populous countries such as India or China, face a frustratingly long wait period which can draw out for years. Because there are far fewer advanced degree holders who qualify for an EB-2 visa, those who are able to successfully apply will typically cut years off of their wait time.

Education Requirements

To qualify for an EB-2 visa, you are required to have earned either a master’s degree, Ph.D., J.D., or M.D. The only exception to this requirement is those who have earned a B.A. or B.S. with at least five years of progressive industry experience, which can be considered comparable to having earned a master’s degree. To qualify for this exception, the complexity and responsibilities of the position in which the experience gained, as well as the depth of knowledge of the subject matter, must have increased progressively over the length of employment.

Employment Requirements

Typically an employer must first seek confirmation from the U.S. Department of Labor that verifies that they were unable to fill necessary positions with American workers before seeking foreign labor sources. The minimum requirements for the job must call for advanced degree holders with five years of progressive post-bachelor’s degree experience. Because there are fewer people who fit the requirements for an EB-2 green card, the wait time for approval is typically substantially shorter than that for less qualified applicants.

Application Process

Before a visa application can be made, an official offer of employment must be made. After this point it is up to the employer to file an I-140 Immigration Application, which verifies that the employee meets required job descriptions and that the employer is able to honor the agreed-upon wages.

Once an I-140 is approved, the applicant must file for an Adjustment of Status with form I-485. This is the final step in filing your green card application, and is best handled with professional assistance.

To learn more about the process or if you have any questions give us a call or fill out our online form.