Understanding the EB-2 Exceptional Ability Criteria

Securing a U.S. Green Card through the EB-2 Exceptional Ability category can be a valuable option for individuals with extraordinary talents. This guide aims to clarify the criteria and requirements for obtaining an EB-2 Exceptional Ability Green Card, making the process more accessible for potential applicants.

What is the EB-2 Exceptional Ability Category?

The EB-2 Exceptional Ability category is an employment-based visa classification for individuals who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their professional field. This category is designed for those whose expertise significantly exceeds that ordinarily encountered in their industry. Applicants under this category do not need a job offer (and go through PERM Process) if they can obtain a National Interest Waiver (NIW).

Key Criteria for EB-2 Exceptional Ability

To qualify for the EB-2 Exceptional Ability category, applicants must demonstrate at least three of the following criteria:

  1. Official Academic Record
    • An official academic record showing that the applicant has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability.
  2. Letters from Current or Former Employers
    • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation.
  3. License to Practice Profession or Certification
    • A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation.
  4. Evidence of Salary or Remuneration
    • Evidence that the applicant has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates exceptional ability.
  5. Membership in Professional Associations
    • Evidence of membership in professional associations related to the applicant’s field.
  6. Recognition for Achievements and Significant Contributions
    • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.

Additional Evidence for Exceptional Ability

In addition to the above criteria, applicants may submit comparable evidence to establish their exceptional ability. This flexibility allows applicants to present a comprehensive picture of their talents and contributions, even if their achievements do not fit neatly into the specified categories.

The Application Process

  1. File Form I-140: The primary form for an EB-2 Exceptional Ability petition is Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This form should be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with supporting documentation.
  2. Supporting Documents: Include all relevant evidence to demonstrate that the applicant meets the EB-2 Exceptional Ability criteria.
  3. Labor Certification: Typically, a job offer and a labor certification (PERM) are required unless the applicant qualifies for a National Interest Waiver (NIW).
  4. USCIS Review: USCIS will review the application and supporting documents. They may request additional evidence if necessary.
  5. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: If the petition is approved, the applicant can either adjust their status if they are already in the U.S. or go through consular processing if they are outside the U.S.


The EB-2 Exceptional Ability category offers a valuable opportunity for individuals with extraordinary talents to secure a U.S. Green Card. By understanding and meeting the criteria outlined above, applicants can effectively navigate the application process and enhance their chances of success.

For further assistance with your EB-2 Exceptional Ability application or to learn more about your eligibility, please contact Kameli Law PC. Our experienced immigration attorneys are here to guide you through every step of the process.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For personalized guidance on your EB2 NIW green card application, please consult with a qualified immigration attorney.

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