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EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees

STEP 1: Eligibility requirements

STEP 2: Prepare EB-2 request

STEP 3: File labor certification application with DOL

STEP 4: File I-140 petition with USCIS

STEP 5: Apply for LPR status

STEP 6: USCIS adjudication & LPR status issues

STEP 1: Eligibility requirements [top]

Labor certification

UH must receive U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) approval of a permanent labor certification application before it can file a Form I-140 immigrant petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in this particular employment-based immigrant category. Labor certification requirements differ depending on the type of position the employee holds.

Review the appropriate option below to determine whether the specific labor certification requirements can be met:

Form I-140 immigrant petition

In addition to meeting the labor certification requirements, UH must also receive approval of a Form I-140 immigrant petition from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). UH must establish that an advanced degree is required for the position AND that the employee possessed the required degree (and all other minimum requirements) by the required date.


STEP 2: Prepare EB-2 request [top]

FIRST, the UH department should work with the employee to prepare an EB-2 request to be submitted to FSIS. The department and employee should complete/gather the following documents for the EB-2 request:

Teaching positions:

Non-teaching positions:

SECOND, the department should forward the request to the college/school/unit’s Administrative/Personnel Officer (AO/PO).

THIRD, the AO/PO should review the request, attach any necessary documents, and send the complete request to FSIS, Attn: Isis/Signe, PSB 102-106.

STEP 3: File labor certification application with DOL [top]

Labor certification requires the following steps:

Procedures Approximate Duration
FSIS reviews the request from the UH department and requests further documentation from the department and/or the employee, if needed.  1 month
2 FSIS requests a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the U.S. Department of Labor. (For non-teaching positions, this step should be done concurrently with the job order submission.)  2-3 months

FSIS completes a draft labor certification application & notice of filing requirements:

  • Union positions: Notice of filing is provided to the appropriate union.
  • Non-union positions (e.g. exec/managerial): FSIS prepares public notices that the dept must post at the worksite for 10 consecutive business days.
2 weeks

FSIS allows the mandatory notice waiting period to pass:

  • Union positions: Must wait at least 30 days after the date notice was provided.
  • Non-union positions: Must wait at least 30 days after the last day of 10-day posting period.
30-180 days
5 FSIS emails the employee to confirm current information & submits the labor certification application electronically to DOL. 2 weeks
6 DOL reviews & certifies the application.* DOL mails the certification to FSIS.  8 months*

* Subject to change depending on DOL's workload. DOL may audit the application before certifying it. If audited, UH will have 30 days to provide the requested information to DOL. DOL may take as long as 2 years to reach a decision on an audited application.

STEP 4: File I-140 petition with USCIS [top]

After DOL issues the labor certification, FSIS will complete the following:

  1. Confirm the employee’s current information and inquire about/discuss the employee’s plans to apply for permanent residence.
  2. Provide instructions for the employee to sign the labor certification.
  3. Complete the Form I-140 petition.
  4. Send the completed petition to the AO/PO along with a memo regarding the current filing fees and proper USCIS mailing addresses.

At this step in the process, certain employees may be eligible to concurrently file a Form I-485 adjustment of status application with the I-140 petition. See "STEP 5: Apply for LPR status" (below) for more details.

USCIS processing time

  • Regular Processing: Takes 4-8 months on average.
  • Premium Processing: USCIS will act on the petition (i.e. approval, denial, or a request for more evidence) within 15 calendar days of receipt. This service is available for an additional fee.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

STEP 5: Apply for LPR status [top]

A foreign national can apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status when his/her priority date becomes current. For the EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees (without National Interest Waiver) category, the priority date is the filing date of his/her labor certification application. This date indicates the availability of immigrant visa numbers and is determined by the employee’s immigrant category ("employment-based 2nd") and country of birth. The employee should check the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin, which is updated monthly, to see whether his/her priority date is current.
Once the employee’s priority date is current, he/she may apply for permanent residence through one of 2 ways:

  1. Adjustment of status (filing Form I-485 while in the U.S.)
  2. Consular processing (applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad)

If a foreign national has maintained status throughout his/her stay in the U.S. and is currently in status, he/she can opt for either adjustment of status or consular processing. However, if he/she has not maintained status, has engaged in unauthorized employment, or has violated the terms and conditions of his/her admission for a total period of more than 180 days, he/she may not be able to adjust status in the U.S. In that case, his/her only option is consular processing.

STEP 6: USCIS adjudication & LPR status issues [top]

The final step is for USCIS to review all applications, conduct background checks on all applicants, and grant LPR status.

Once USCIS has granted a foreign national LPR status, the LPR shares most of the same basic rights as U.S. citizens with few exceptions such as the right to vote and to run for government office.

Temporary evidence of LPR status

After an LPR receives his/her I-485 approval notice ("welcome notice") but before he/she receives the Permanent Resident Card (a.k.a. “green card”) from USCIS, he/she can obtain an I-551 stamp as temporary evidence of LPR status for employment authorization purposes and to travel abroad. To obtain the I-551 stamp, he/she should make an appointment online with the USCIS Honolulu District Office.

Travel abroad & reentry

After attaining LPR status, LPRs should still be aware of certain travel abroad issues:

  • Outside the U.S. for less than 6 months: LPR can reenter the U.S. by presenting his/her Permanent Resident Card.
  • Outside the U.S. for more than 6 months but less than 1 year: LPR will be considered an applicant for admission and should present his/her Permanent Resident Card AND evidence that he/she has maintained continuous ties to residence in the U.S. (e.g. employment letter certifying continued employment, proof of a U.S. address, U.S. tax returns, U.S. bank/credit card accounts, U.S. driver’s license, etc.).
  • Outside the U.S. for more than 1 year: LPR must receive a reentry permit by filing Form I-131 with USCIS BEFORE he/she departs the U.S. If he/she leaves the U.S. without obtaining a reentry permit, such an absence will be deemed an abandonment of LPR status. For more information, see the USCIS website and search for “How do I get a travel document?”

For more information on LPR status, see the USCIS Guide for New Immigrants.