EB-2 & EB-3 Labor Certification Categories


The EB-2 and EB-3 Permanent Residency sponsorship categories require employers to apply first to the Department of Labor (DOL) for labor certification before submitting a petition for an immigrant visa to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. To obtain DOL approval, the employer must demonstrate that it meets DOL salary requirements, or the prevailing wage, and that it followed mandatory hiring guidelines and duly considered qualified U.S. workers for the position.

EB-2 and EB-3 petitions for categories requiring labor certification take longer to process than the EB-1 Outstanding Researcher/Professor category, particularly for employees from certain countries with a shortage of available immigrant visas, who may have to wait several months or years before they can proceed to the final step of applying to change to Permanent Resident status.

Below are the 4 EB-2 and EB-3 categories sponsored by Syracuse University:

1. Advanced Degree Holders - Special Recruitment for a Faculty Teaching Position (EB-2)

The University can sponsor a teaching faculty member via the labor certification process under the “optional special recruitment and documentation” rules. Under these rules, the University does not have to show there were no minimally qualified workers available for the position, but only that the individual was the best qualified candidate. An employer must submit a labor certification application for teaching faculty within 18 months of the employee’s selection for the position. The application must include documentation of one print job advertisement in a professional journal and other evidence of the University’s competitive recruitment and selection process.

2. Advanced Degree Holders (EB-2)

Employees who do not qualify for the outstanding professor/researcher category or who are not engaged in teaching may qualify for the EB-2 Advanced Degree Holders category through the labor certification process. Unlike for teaching faculty, the University must demonstrate that no minimally qualified U.S. worker in the area was available and willing to take the position. When submitting a labor certification application in the advanced degree holder category, the University must provide documentation that it met recruiting requirements, including two print advertisements, three additional recruitment steps (out of a possible 10), and a recruiting report. The University must have taken these steps between 180 and 30 days before filing the labor certification petition. If recruitment and hiring took place more than 180 days before the desired filing date, then the department must run a new search.

3. Aliens of Exceptional Ability (EB-2)

The EB-2 Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, or Business category is an excellent option for any international instructor, researcher, or professional staff member who has many years of experience in the field but may not hold a Master’s or Ph.D. degree. This category is rarely used by Syracuse University.

In addition to the evidence of eligibility as an EB-2 Alien of Exception Ability that must be shown by the international applicant, the Department will have to follow the recruitment guidelines for proper Labor Certification.

Establishing Eligibility - An EB-2 applicant can establish eligibility as an alien of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business by developing and submitting documentation in at least three (preferably four) of the categories listed below:

  • An official academic record showing that the applicant has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from an institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
  • Evidence in the form of letters from current or former employers showing that the applicant has at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation;
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
  • Evidence that the applicant has either commanded a salary or other remuneration for services, as shown by contracts or letters of employment, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
  • Membership in professional associations;
  • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
4. Professionals (EB-3)

In rare cases, the University sponsors employees for the EB3 Professional category, often for coaches who do not hold advanced degrees. To qualify, the employee must have at least a bachelor's degree in a specific field of professional endeavor or at least two years of specific education, training, or experience; and the job offered requires at least a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement. Standard labor certification is required, as in the EB2 advanced degree holder category, and the University must demonstrate that no minimally qualified U.S. worker in the area was available and willing to take the position.