How USCIS's New 'Science or Art' Definition Impacts Employment-Based EB-2 and EB-3 Petitions

Written on 04/10/2024
Asia91 Team

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidelines to include a specific definition of "science or art" from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This is important for certain job-based visa applications.

Normally, when a company wants to hire someone from another country for jobs in categories like EB-2 and EB-3, it has to prove to the DOL that it couldn't find a suitable U.S. worker for the job. This process is called getting a labor certification.

However, there are some jobs, known as Schedule A occupations, where the government has already agreed there aren't enough U.S. workers available. For these jobs, companies can skip part of the usual process and go straight to the USCIS. These jobs are divided into two groups: Group I includes registered nurses and physical therapists, while Group II includes people with exceptional abilities in science or arts (except performing arts) and those with exceptional abilities in performing arts.

The new guidance means that when USCIS looks at applications for jobs in Group II, they will use the DOL's definition of "science or art." According to the DOL, "science or art" includes any area of knowledge or skill that is usually taught in colleges or universities and leads to a degree.

The USCIS update also mentions that they don't just count the evidence provided by an applicant; they also assess its significance.


How it impacts Employment-Based EB-2 and EB-3 Green Card Petitions:

  • The USCIS update also mentions that they don't just count the evidence provided by an applicant; they also assess its significance. This clarification in defining 'Science or Art' directly impacts those applying for EB-2 and EB-3 visas, as it sets clearer expectations for what qualifies as exceptional ability in these fields.
  • For EB-2 and EB-3 applicants, this means that their applications will need to not only demonstrate exceptional skills in science or arts according to the newly integrated DOL definition but also provide substantial, quality evidence of their achievements. This ensures a more transparent and consistent evaluation process, potentially smoothing the path for qualified applicants in these employment-based categories.
  • The Schedule A update means that for certain jobs, employers don't have to prove there aren't enough U.S. workers available before hiring someone from another country for permanent residency under the EB-2 or EB-3 categories. This makes the application process quicker and easier. Now, highly successful workers have more chances to get permanent residency in the United States.


This change is just to make sure USCIS and DOL definitions match up; it doesn't actually change how things are done. It's already in effect as part of the USCIS Policy Manual.


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