If you are looking at different U.S. visa options and asking “What is EB2?” It is a green card for exceptional ability. That means it is closer to the non-immigrant P visa standards than it is to others like the O visa (which is more like the EB-1).
The EB2 visa is reserved for professionals who hold an advanced degree or for those who can otherwise prove exceptional ability in their particular area. Here “exceptional” must be shown to be significantly above the normal range.
This green card is particularly attractive and can offer a fast route to permanent U.S. residency, but as such it can be challenging to win, so it makes sense to speak to an immigration attorney with a track record of winning these types of petitions.
Whether applying via the advanced degree route or the “other exceptional ability” option, the PERM labor certification process will be required. Note that this does not apply to the current National Interest Exemption option (see below).
The EB-2 visa holder’s legal spouse and/or any minor children (who are unmarried and under the age of 21) may also apply to stay in the country via the E-21 o E-22 application.
What is EB2 Suitability for Athletes?
The EB-2 visa is an interesting green card because it lists a wide range of things in which you can have “exceptional ability”, which includes entertainment but does not happen to include athletic or sporting ability. While at least one case has been won claiming that athletics can be classed as entertainment, but that is only likely to apply to televised sports. There are multiple criteria to fulfill, but these are not directly applicable to athletic or sporting activities. However, it may be possible to use the “comparable evidence” category.
In these cases, you can look at the P-visa category requirements, which means you do not necessarily need national or international awards, but lower levels of recognition may still be useful, along with local media exposure that could prove exceptional ability.
Agent-based petitions can also be used for the O and P visa categories, which give the potential to have multiple direct employers. The agent must have a contract with the direct employer to represent them for the purposes of the visa petition and the agent would take on certain liabilities and responsibilities with regard to immigration status. See the video below for more details on this scenario. OnlineVisas has extensive experience in successfully winning this type of agent-based petition.
What is EB2 Visa National Interest Exemption
The National Interest Exemption is a new option that was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is hard to say for how long it will remain open as an alternative possibility. As citizens of certain countries may currently be denied entry into the United States, so a National Interest Exemption may be required. However, in March 2021, the exemption was changed no longer to include athletes, leaving only twelve sports that could still qualify under the National Interest Exemption.
Please refer to our EB-2 green card page for further details on the steps and criteria that may be required to prove exceptional ability. If you believe you may qualify for the EB-2, we suggest your first step should be to arrange a free strategy consultation with one of our professional immigration attorneys, who will be happy to advise you on all your options, which may include alternative visa types that you may not yet have considered. The OnlineVisas legal team has extensive experience in winning a range of green cards like the EB-2 for individuals in many disciplines, including sports, academia, and business.