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PERM: Complete Guide to EB-2 Visa and PERM Process

PERM: Complete Guide to EB-2/PERM Process


EB-2 or the Employment-Based second preference visa is granted in case the applicant holds an advanced or equivalent degree or a foreign national with exceptional ability and where the employers are willing to sponsor the applicant. There are three categories to be eligible for an EB-2 visa, namely, holder of an advanced degree (EB-2A), a person with an exceptional ability (EB-2B), or a person with a national interest waiver (EB-2C). If you are applying for the first two categories, a PERM process will be required. However, an exception is made in the PERM requirement if you are applying in the third category. In this article, we will see EB-2 visa and PERM requirements. 

EB-2 Second Preference visa

Individuals with an advanced degree

To apply as an advanced degree holder in the course of, you must possess an advanced degree or foreign equivalent. The degree could include a baccalaureate or a foreign equivalent degree and progressive work experience of five years in the field. Documents required are: 

  • Official academic record 
  • Letters from current or former employers to prove five years of progressive work experience post-baccalaureate in the specialty. 
  • If a doctoral degree is customarily demanded, you also need to produce a Doctorate or foreign equivalent degree.

Individuals with the exceptional ability

Suppose a person wants to apply in this category. In that case, you have a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the field of sciences, arts, or business. You must have at least three of the following documents to prove your eligibility: 

  • Office academic record of learning that must relate to your area of exceptional ability. 
  • Letters from employers proving at least ten years of full-time experience in your area. 
  • License to practice your profession 
  • Evidence to prove your salary or other remuneration in the course of providing services that demonstrate exceptional ability. 
  • Membership in a professional association(s) 
  • Evidence to prove recognition of your achievements and significant contributions by peers, government entities, professional, or business organizations. 
  • Other comparable evidence to prove your eligibility is acceptable. 

Labor certification is needed if you want to apply under these categories. It is important to note that other requirements specified on the labor certification must also be met in both categories along with the above requirements. 

What is the Permanent Labor Certification Process (PERM process)?

A Department of Labor (DOL) permanent labor certification enables a business to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the United States. The DOL must certify to the USCIS that there are insufficient US workers capable, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment. Hiring the foreign worker will have no adverse effect on the wages working conditions of similarly employed US workers.

So in the PERM process, DOL will ask for a market test that will show there are no US workers who are qualified and available to work for the position that the immigrant would take.

PERM Process 

First, you need to clear the PERM/ Labor Certification Stage. PERM process or Program for Electronic Review Management is when the employer has to prove the need to immigrate a foreign worker for the said job. PERM application requires the following steps:

  1. Firstly, the employer has to file a prevailing wage request determining salary based on the location of the job and the economic environment. The processing time of this request is about two weeks. 
  2. Secondly, the employer must undergo extensive recruitment by posting job listings for US workers interested in applying within 60 days. Any US national interested in applying for the job should not be overlooked. 
  3. Lastly, suppose the Department of Labor is satisfied that no US citizen is willing for the position. In that case, the employer must complete and file the ETA 9809 form and the labor certification with the Department of Labor. The DOL will send a follow-up to the employer, which has to be completed within a week. This step takes about six months for processing.

After the Labor Certification is approved, your employer will sponsor your I-140 immigration petition, which verifies that the applicant meets the job requirement on the PERM application and that the employer can pay the offered wages to the applicant. After a certain time, if you become eligible, you can file Form I-485 application to adjust your status to Legal Permanent Resident.

Exceptions to PERM Process 

The category of National Waiver Interest is for a person requesting the labor certification to be waived if he can show that his entry is in the interest of the US. The jobs that qualify for this category are not defined by statute but are usually granted to applicants whose employment would greatly benefit the nation.

What are the fees for filing an EB-2 visa?

The fees for filing an EB-2 visa are as follows: 

  1. $700 for filing of I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) 
  2. $1140 for filing of I-485 and a fee of $85 for extracting biometrics (if applicable). The fee may vary depending on your filing category and age. You can check the costs at https://www.uscis.gov/feecalculator
  3. There is no fee required for filing of ETA Form 9089 


EB-2 visa can be considered an excellent option for applicants with an advanced degree or exceptional ability or those who can work for the benefit of the US to obtain a green card in the US. You can contact us if you think you are eligible to come to the US on an EB-2 visa and want to have an expert opinion on your visa application. Immigration attorneys at Sethi and Mazaheri law firm will help you with your visa case and assist you with your application process. 

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