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The EB-2 immigrant visa category for professionals with advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business generally requires a job offer and a labor certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). The labor certification process exists to protect U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing qualified U.S. workers. Please visit the Department of Labor’s website to learn more about the labor certification process.

As DOL regulations prohibit the issuance of labor certifications in self-employment scenarios, an entrepreneur will generally be unable to file an EB-2 visa petition unless he or she qualifies for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) exempting the entrepreneur from the job offer requirement and, thus, the labor certification. Even if you are not self-employed, it may still be challenging for you to obtain a labor certification if you have a significant ownership interest in the company, if there is a familial relationship between you and the stockholders, corporate officers, incorporators, or partners, or if you are one of a small number of employees. If any of these factors apply, your employer must be able to demonstrate that a bona fide job opportunity exists such that the position is open and available to U.S. workers.

An entrepreneur seeking EB-2 classification and exemption from the job offer and labor certification requirements based on the national interest may self-petition. As the majority of entrepreneurs filing under the EB-2 visa category also request a NIW, the following EB-2 visa sections are presented in conjunction with the requirements for a NIW. If you are requesting a NIW, you must first demonstrate that you are either a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or an individual of exceptional ability.


 Choose a visa category to learn if you might qualify.


EB-2 Advanced Degree EB-2 Exceptional Ability