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40 Postdocs & Ph.D. Students: Who are qualified for green card application?

Postdocs & Ph.D. Students: Who are qualified for green card application?


The Department of State published Immigrant Visa Bulletin for August, 2019, which established a worldwide EB1 and EB2 visa backlog. The visa backlog affects all international scholars and students who wish to apply for green card in EB1A and EB2NIW. In addition, the visa backlog will also affect the green card applicants whose application is sponsored by U.S. employers, including EB1B, EB2 PERM.

Because of the visa backlog, more and more international postdoctoral scholars and students wish to file their green card application as early as possible before they have a U.S. employer to sponsor their green card application in order to avoid the delays caused by the visa backlog.

Who are qualified for green card applications?

We will provide some important information of the qualification requirements for postdoctoral researchers and Ph.D. students to apply for U.S. Permanent Residence under the current immigration law and CIS adjudication policies. To help readers understand, we will also provide a couple of successful sample cases.

Postdoctoral researchers and Ph.D. students do not have a permanent job. Therefore, there will be NO U.S. employer to sponsor their green card application. They must file a self-petition green card application. According to the U.S. Immigration laws and regulations, there are two types employment-based immigrant visa classifications that can be self-petition application. One is EB1A: Alien of Extraordinary Ability and the other is EB2 National Interest Waiver.

The mostly used one is EB2 National Interest Waiver. The basic legal requirements for EB2 National Interest Waiver applicants include the following.

I. Applicant must have advanced degree or exceptional ability

(1) Advanced degrees include Masterís degree, Ph.D. degree, M.D. equivalent degree.

Advanced degrees include the ones that received from other countries than the United States. If all of the advanced degrees were received outside of the United States, we will direct you to obtain a Foreign Academic Credential Evaluation by a credited evaluation agency. If one of the advanced degrees was obtained from an accredited educational institution in the United States, you may not need a Foreign Academic Credential Evaluation report.

(2) Exceptional ability

There is no degree requirement. Applicant needs to prove exceptional ability and often times ten years or more experience in the field.

II. The applicantís work has practical significance to the national interest of the United States.

The applicant must prove that his or her work is in the area of national interest of the United States. CIS has been holding a broad interpretation. The only area of work that has been excluded by CIS is attorneysí legal service. CIS said that by nature of legal representation, attorneys serve the interest of their clients.

III. The applicantís research and his or her contributions have direct link to the National Interests.

The applicants are required to prove that his or her work serves national interest. Based on our experience, the applicants shall provide evidence to prove his or her key role in the important research projects and the specific research contributions.

IV. Applicantís work brings a benefit that is national in scope

The benefit of the applicantís work shall not cover only a small group of people or a specific region. CIS confirmed in a case titled The Matter of DHANASAR (26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016) and outlined the basic legal requirements for EB2NIW. An EB2NIW applicant shall provide preponderance of evidence to prove that (1) his or her proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance, (2) the petitioner is well positioned to advance his research; and (3) on balance, it is beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

The following are two approved EB2NIW cases to help readers understand the above legal requirements in EB2NIW applications.

1. Postdoctorate researcher:

We helped a post-doctoral research fellow with a Ph.D. Degree and a Master's degree in pharmacology applied green card in EB2NIW. The EB2NIW applicant was a post-doctoral research fellow in the field of neurology, electrophysiology and epilepsy research. After a review and a close study of her work and accomplishments, we suggested to help her file an EB2 National Interest Waiver. At the time of filing, she had 7 journal papers published in Korea and US, 5 conference presentations. We prepared and filed I-140 EB2NIW. CIS approved the EB2 NIW case in 5 months without RFE.

2. Postdoctoral researcher without a Masterís degree:

We helped a postdoctoral researcher proved exceptional ability and obtained approval of EB2NIW. The applicant did not have an masterís degree or any advanced degrees. The applicant obtained a bachelorís degree in Medicine from China. When she came to ask our professional help, she was a research scientist in the field of molecular biology focusing on oral cancer and mechanism of HIV infection in the oral mucosa. At the time of filing, she had 6 journal papers published in China and USA, 2 conference presentations. CIS approved the EB2 NIW case without RFE.

3. A researcher in a private profit-making company:

As we mentioned above, an EB2NIW application will become more difficult to prepare if the applicant works for a private profit-making company. Having said that, we do have successful cases. A researcher with a private company in the field of Synthesis of multiple nano-scaled coatings on SiC whiskers, SiC fibers, SiC nanowires to develop high-temperature ceramics for matrix composites asked our law firm to file an EB2NIW. She has a Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering and Masterís degree in Materials Physical Chemistry, 5 journal papers, 4 conference papers, 6 conference presentations. CIS approved the EB2 NIW case without RFE.

If you are interested in EB1A, EB1B, EB2NIW applications, please email us your updated resume, including your educational background, your current work, your publications, citation information, reviewer experience, etc. to our email address at Subject: Green Card Application. We provide FREE EVALUATION.

已经决定申请EB1A,EB1B, EB2NIW等移民身份的朋友,欢迎直接和我们律师事务所联系。可以将个人履历包括获奖情况,引用文次, 有无媒体报道等Email 到:。 Subject: Green Card Application. 我们提供免费评估。

Disclaimer: All information in this document is general information of immigration laws and procedures for educational and advertising purpose. The information does not constitute attorney legal advice. If your need attorney legal advice, you must contact our law firm directly by email at, or by phone at 310-481-6118.

Contact information:

Alice H. Sun (Member of American Immigration Lawyers Association)
12100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 925
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 481-6118
Fax: (310) 481-6117 or







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