EB-2, Second Preference
The EB-2 is an immigrant visa preference category for United States employment-based permanent residency, which includes "members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent", and "individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States".
There are three sub-categories of EB-2:
"Advanced degree" - the job must require an "advanced" degree (master's degree or superior), and the applicant must possess one or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus five years progressive work experience in the field). Not all advanced degree qualify; the job must be a "profession" – an occupation (including, but not limited to architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academics, or seminaries) that requires at a minimum a US baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent.
"Exceptional ability", in the sciences, arts, or business, meaning “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business”
"National interest waiver" - same as "exceptional ability", but requesting that the labor certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. These individuals may also self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them). A special provision allows national interest waivers to be granted to physicians who agree to work full-time in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals.
Entrepreneurs may also qualify for the EB-2 category under certain conditions.
Family of EB-2 Visa Holders
Spouse and children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process of applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), the spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).