USCIS Adopts Department of Labor Definition of “Science or Art”

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is issuing policy guidance (PDF, 321.14 KB) in the USCIS Policy Manual to add the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) definition of “science or art” for Schedule A, Group II cases.

For many employment-based 2nd and 3rd preference (EB-2 and EB-3) petitions, employers must obtain a labor certification from DOL before filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, with USCIS. For certain occupations, referred to as Schedule A occupations, DOL has predetermined that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available. For these occupations, employers submit the labor certification directly to USCIS, bypassing DOL review. Currently, DOL has designated two groups of occupations under Schedule A: registered nurses and physical therapists (Group I); and beneficiaries with exceptional ability in the sciences or arts (except performing arts) and beneficiaries with exceptional ability in performing arts (Group II). 

Since USCIS considers DOL regulations when adjudicating petitions based on Schedule A occupations, we are now adding reference to DOL’s regulatory definition of “science or art” into the policy to align with DOL, as it relates to Group II. When designating Schedule A, Group II, DOL defines science or art as “any field of knowledge or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge or skill.” USCIS made an additional update to explain that, as with all adjudications, USCIS reviews both the quantity and the quality of the evidence provided.

This guidance, contained in Volume 6 of the Policy Manual, is effective immediately upon publication. This update does not change policy or operations. This is an update to incorporate the DOL definition in the USCIS Policy Manual.

For more information, please see Volume 6, Part E, Chapter 7, of the USCIS Policy Manual


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