Blog for Postdocs / Phds, National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability

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EB1 Eligibility


Thanks for this informative website! I am fairly new to this GC process and learned a lot from this portal. I received a PhD in civil and Envir. Engg this Dec (2017) and I would like to know if I have real shot at obtaining a GC. My details are as follows:

  1. Research is in Application of Remotely sensed observations into a Crop modeling for improved and reliable yield predictions.
  2. Recent PhD degree with 3.9 GPA (2017)
  3. Masters with 3.82 (2012)
  4. Won NASA Post doctoral Fellowship – 2017    Grant of $ 70,000/year
  5. Won NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (2015-2017) – Grant of $100,500 (3 years)
  6. Total 5 publications (2 published, 1 accepted and 2 under revision)
  7. Attended and presented in 9 conferences (International/national)
  8. 2 stories on my research was published (2014 and 2017) in University news portal later picked by online science news sources such as and etc.
  9. Active collaborations with researchers from NASA (co-author on multiple papers); USDA (also co-author); other universities (Texas A&M, Purdue etc.)

These are some of the things I can tell from top of my head – Can you please provide me an honest assessment based on these points.



6 Responses to EB1 Eligibility

  • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:


    Could you please let us know your country of birth – this is relevant to the choice of the suitable category.

  • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

    I appreciate your interest in our materials, it’s great to know it’s useful! The reason I asked about the country of birth is because your case would have been great for EB2-NIW, however, for the Indian nationals this category is practically unaccessible due to the, simply speaking, many years backlog in the distribution of the green cards. So, for you only EB1A would make sense.

    From the credentials you provided, it is hard to say, whether or not you can satisfy the USCIS criteria. Let me give you some additional information instead and you are welcome to ask more questions if needed. Having 2 published papers makes it more difficult to prepare a successful case, unless they are published with you being the first author and in top journals. However, several published papers (it is where you are heading, as I understand) will give you more flexibility. In this case it still matters if you are the first author and what is the impact factor of the journal. Being first author will help you in establishing the critical role you played and that the contribution “of major significance” actually belongs mostly to you. High impact factor will help you in supporting “major significance” of your work.

    Please also think about your citation level. High citation level helps in proving the international acclaim. Low citation level creates some obstacles that, in principle, can be avoided by explaining the specifics of the field or your particular research and providing testimonies of your (groundbreaking) research from young professors in your field that have low enough citation levels themselves. The most common mistake leading to denial is of people trying to compensate the low citations by recommendation letters of pioneers of the field with stellar credentials.

    In addition, try to recall if you refereed papers in the past, because this may help you in satisfying one more of the USCIS criteria (being a judge in a research provided by peers).

  • jjkite says:

    Hi Tigran,

    I appreciate your detailed response. The condition with NASA postdoc is that I can’t join with OPT (and they will not do H1) since its a fellowship not job! Therefore I am required to change either to J1 or get a green card. I have applied for J1 through USCIS but its not the most fluent category.

    Now as per your concerns, let me try and response with more details…

    1) All my papers 2 published and 3 in pipeline are with me as first author

    2) impact factors includes:
    Paper -1 —- 3.24 (Ranks 3 in remote sensing category) – 10 citations
    Paper -2 —- 1.82 (slightly lower ranked journal) – 4 citations
    Paper -3 —- 4.44 (Ranks in top 3 )
    Paper -4 —- 3.93 (Ranks in top 5 )
    Paper -5 —- 3.89 (Ranks in top 3 )
    * I am working on another paper (first author) currently and should be submitted and in review in next 3 months (by the time I actually decide and apply for GC)

    3) I have reviewed 3 papers in 2016 and i am currently reviewing another 1.

    4) My main concern with EB1A is low citations and papers are around for a while now (first published in 2013). Although in most of the cases the journals are highly reputable and of high ranks but this low citations will definitely adversely affect my chances.

    This is the main reason I was leaning towards NIW. Can you please comment in number of years in backlog you mentioned with NIW.

    Thanks again for the information

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      Yes, that’s why many people prefer their PI to pay them through Caltech (if they are based at JPL) instead of going through the hassle of NASA fellowship. University affiliation allows you to have a more flexible choice of the visa category.

      You being the first author in the 5 articles published in top journals would be definitely a strong point. Together with the refereed papers this may allow you to satisfy 3 or 4 of the USCIS criteria (3 needed). As you correctly pointed out, the number of citations is the main concern, which may prevent you from proving the wide national/international acclaim. However, I can imagine, that there are not that many groups working in the remote sensing, so it may take a long time to accumulate citations. If you manage to get letters from young permanent members in your field, who have citations counts in hundreds or less, then you can explain (yourself and through their words) that the low citations is the specifics of the field.

      Remote sensing would be great for NIW, since there are so many important applications, however, for Indian nationals, the current priority date is 22NOV08 (see the link below). In other words, right now, only those Indian nationals can file I-485, who filed their (approved) I-140 before that date.

  • jjkite says:


    Thanks for your valuable inputs. I think I will wait few more months (to actually get all papers out and hopefully have few more citations) before applying for GC.

    Thanks again.

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