USCIS Adopts DOL’s Definition of “Science or Art” for Schedule A Cases

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the incorporation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) definition of “science or art” into its policy manual for Schedule A, Group II cases. The policy change goes into effect immediately.


An employer sponsoring a foreign national in the employment-based second or third preference (EB2/EB3) usually must first file a PERM labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For Schedule A occupations, however, where the DOL already has determined that a shortage of qualified U.S. workers exists, employers can bypass DOL review and directly submit the labor certification to the USCIS. Schedule A is comprised of two groups. Group I includes registered nurses and physical therapists, while Group II is made up of individuals with exceptional abilities in sciences or arts, excluding performing arts.

Definition of “Science or Art” Updated

As noted above, the recent update serves to align the USCIS definition of “science or art” for Schedule A, Group II cases to that of the one used by the DOL. According to the definition, “science or art” refers to “any field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge and/or skill.” By adopting the DOL’s definition of science or art, the USCIS aims to ensure a more standardized approach to evaluating these Schedule A petitions. In making this update, the USCIS emphasizes that all adjudications will continue to assess both the quantity and quality of evidence presented, maintaining rigorous standards for immigration petitions.


This update does not introduce any changes to existing policies or operations, but rather serves to formalize the incorporation of the DOL’s definition into USCIS procedures. Employers involved in Schedule A, Group II cases who have questions about these changes, or the process in general, are encouraged to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.


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