EB2 Processing Time: How to Expedite the Process

EB2 Processing Time


The EB2 visa is a great way to obtain a green card to the United States. In this guide, I will discuss the EB2 visa processing time. I will also discuss how to speed up the EB2 processing time. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I would be happy to answer your questions.


As a general overview, the EB2 visa processing time usually takes about 18 months from start to finish, but it can take up to several years in certain cases (depending on your country of birth).




1. EB2 Visa Processing Time (Step-by-Step)


2. PERM Audits / Delays


3. Priority Date Wait Times


4. Expediting the EB2 Process


5. Conclusion


1. EB2 Visa Processing Time (Step-by-Step)


There are three steps to the EB2 visa application: the PERM labor certification, the immigrant petition, and the immigrant visa application or adjustment of status. As mentioned earlier, the standard EB2 visa processing time is about 18 months, but it can take much longer in certain cases.


PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION (4 Months for Prep Work and 6 Months for  Application Processing: About 10 Months Total Processing Time)


The first step in the EB2 visa process is the PERM labor certification. This process is completed by the US employer after they have identified a foreign national they wish to hire.


The PERM process is done between the US employer and the Department of Labor. Basically, the PERM process is the system for obtaining a labor certification from the Department of Labor. The labor certification ensure that there are no US workers willing and able to do the job. Once the US employer receives the labor certification, they can then sponsor a foreign worker for the position that they have available. This PERM labor certification is NOT required for people applying in the EB2 national interest waiver category. It is required for all other EB2 visa applicants.


This PERM process requires requesting a prevailing wage determination and undergoing the recruiting process. It usually takes 2-4 months to receive a prevailing wage determination. The recruiting process takes a minimum of 60 days. While you can begin the recruiting process before you receive the prevailing wage determination, you should talk to an immigration lawyer to determine if this is a good plan for you. My team and I can help discuss the pros and cons of each option. After receiving a prevailing wage determination and going through the recruitment process, you may complete the PERM form and submit the application.


One thing to note is that the PERM labor certification application must be submitted within 180 days of any recruiting effort. This means that if you begin the recruitment process prior to receiving the prevailing wage determination, the recruitment effort may expire before you receive the prevailing wage determination. However, waiting to receive the prevailing wage determination to begin recruitment efforts will make this process take longer. My team and I would be happy to discuss this further and determine the best timeline for you.


After submitting the PERM labor certification application (Form ETA-9089), the Department of Labor will usually take about 6 months to adjudicate the application, but can take longer if you are subjected to an audit. You may not continue with the immigrant petition (which is the next step in the process) until you are approved for the PERM labor certification.


So overall, the total processing time for the PERM labor certification is 10 months.


IMMIGRANT PETITION (6 to 9 Month Standard Processing Time, 15 Day Premium Processing)


The second step in the EB2 visa application process is to file the immigrant petition. This is done by submitting a Form I-140 to USCIS. This step is usually completed by the U.S. employer, but some people eligible under the EB2 national interest waiver category can self-petition. With standard processing it usually takes about 6-9 months for the I-140 immigrant petition to be processed once you file it. If you elect to do the optional premium processing, the application can be processed within 15 days. Please note that premium processing is not available under national interest waiver applications.


PRIORITY DATE (0 to 10+ Years)


When you submit your EB2 visa immigrant petition (Form I-140), you will also receive a priority date. Your priority date will tell you when you can apply for your immigrant visa or apply for adjustment of status (next step). For some countries, there is no wait time and you can schedule a visa interview immediately. For other countries, particularly those born in China and India, this wait time can be much longer. You can look at the USCIS visa bulletin website by clicking here for more information about wait times. My team and I would also be happy to provide you with more information about your estimated wait time.




Once your priority date arrives, the foreign beneficiary can either apply for their immigrant visa at their local US embassy abroad or if they are lawfully present in the United States, they may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of status in the United States. You must do this within 1 year of your priority date. Additionally, prior to your interview, you should complete a medical examination and prepare all relevant documentation. If the US consular officer or immigration officer approves your application, you will receive EB2 visa status and be eligible to come to the United States and with a green card.


Whether you apply for your immigrant visa or do an adjustment of status, the average processing time is about 9 months.


Important Note: If your priority date is current, and you are lawfully present in the United States, you may be eligible to concurrently file your adjustment of status application (Form I-1485) along with your immigrant petition (Form I-140). This can speed up the overall processing time considerably. We would be happy to help you determine if you would be eligible for concurrent filing of your I-140 and I-485.


2. PERM Audits / Delays 


One of the most common ways for the EB2 visa application process to be delayed if you are subject to an audit during the PERM application process. This can be either targeted or random. Targeted PERM audits happen if the Department of Labor has concerns about any aspect of your application. Random audits can also happen. These can delay your applications for up to one year. For this reason, it is valuable to work with an experienced immigration lawyer to help diminish the chance of targeted audits. It is also important to keep all relevant documents in case of a random audit.


Additionally, if USCIS has concerns about any aspect of the petition, they can submit a request for evidence. This can delay the process as well. Finally, if there are any other concerns (such as application inconsistencies, security issues) that come up during the final consular interview, that may also delay the process by several months.


3. Priority Date Wait Times 


As previously mentioned, the factor that leads to the most variance in EB2 visa processing times is the priority date system. Only 28.6% of employment-based green cards can be EB2 visas and only 7% of any visa receivers can be from any one country. As a result, countries with more visa applicants have more demand than supply and there is a waitlist. In particular, nationals of China and India should expect long wait times. Current wait times can be found by clicking here. Additionally, my team and I can provide you with more information about expected wait times for any country. Please feel free to email me at Michael@AshooriLaw.com to learn more.


4. Expediting the EB2 Process 


There are a few options for expediting the EB2 process.


National Interest Waiver


First, if you qualify for the national interest category (NIW), you do not have to submit a PERM labor certification. By avoiding the PERM process, you can save about 10 months of processing time. This can help expedite the process. Feel free to email me to discuss whether you may be eligible for an EB2 national interest waiver filing.


However, if you do not qualify for the national interest waiver, you must complete the PERM labor certification.


Please note that premium processing is not available for national interest waiver EB2 filings. However, premium processing is available for standard EB2 filings (non-NIW cases).


Premium Processing


Another way to expedite your overall processing time is through premium processing. Premium processing is an optional service where you can pay an additional fee can get a response on your EB2 immigrant petition within 15 days (as opposed to approximately 6-9 months with standard processing). The fee for premium processing is currently $1440.


Unfortunately, there is no way to advance or expedite your priority date. Thus, if you are from a country with a wait time for the visa application, there is no way to pass by that line.


Porting Your Priority Date


If you are from a country with a long wait time and you qualify for the EB1 visa, you may be able to port your priority date. The EB1 visa is the first-preference employment-based green card visa. The EB1 visa may enable you to receive green card status faster than the EB2 visa.


Please keep in mind that the EB1 visa has stricter requirements. My team and I would be happy to provide you with more information on this visa. Please feel free to email me at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.


5. Conclusion 


The EB2 visa is a great option to obtain a U.S. green card. It is a good option for people with advanced degrees, exceptional ability, or for those who can work in the national interest of the US, hoping to attain permanent resident status in the United States.  To receive an EB2 visa, you must complete a PERM labor certification (unless you are in the national waiver category), a immigrant petition, and apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. This process takes at least 1 year and usually takes around 18 months from beginning the PERM prep work to receiving permanent resident status, although it can take much longer.


You should now have a much better sense of the EB2 visa processing time, including the individual steps, the common delays, the ways to expedite the process, and the factors that can lead to longer processing times.


If you have any questions about the information discussed in this guide or about the EB2 visa and its processing time in general, feel free to contact me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I am very responsive via email and I would be happy to assist you.





Share this post...

Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.