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Professionals or Persons with Exceptional Ability (Second Preference Category)

The employment-based, second preference category is divided into two categories:

Professionals with Advanced Degrees

Members of the professions includes, but is not limited to, architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academia, or seminaries. It also includes any occupation a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent) is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation. For members of the professions, advanced degree means any U.S. academic or professional degree (or foreign equivalent degree) above that of a baccalaureate. A bachelor degree plus five years of progressive experience in the professions is considered as the equivalent of a master's degree.

Persons with Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, or Business

Exceptional ability has been defined as something more than what is usual, ordinary, or common, and requires some rare or unusual talent, or unique or extraordinary ability in a calling which, of itself, requires that talent or skill. The possession of a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning or a license to practice, or certification for a particular profession or occupation, shall not, by itself, be considered sufficient evidence of such exceptional ability.

An alien will qualify for registration in this category if he or she is seeking to enter the U.S. to continue work in their field of endeavor and it is expected that the entry of the alien will substantially benefit the U.S.'s economic, cultural, welfare or educational interests.

Do you qualify for the employment-based, second preference category? What next?

A job offer from the prospective U.S. employer is required in order to qualify for immigration in the employment-based, second preference category. The prospective U.S. employer is required to contact the local state employment office for information on filing for a labor certification to show that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the proposed employment. If labor certification is approved, the certification is filed together with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Nebraska Service Center.

Under certain circumstances an alien seeking employment in the exceptional ability category may qualify for a waiver of the requirement of a job offer/labor certification. In this situation the petition (Form I-140) is filed by the alien herself or himself. Further information can be obtained from USCIS.

Note: The decision on whether a person is qualified for registration in the employment-based, second preference category is made by USCIS. Explore the USCIS website or contact USCIS for more information. The U.S. Embassy and consulates in India cannot answer questions concerning eligibility to register in this category.