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

Disclaimer: The contents in this web site are only for your information and are not intended to be legal advice. While many of our applicants successfully obtain their I-140 approvals, the information here should not be considered as a guarantee of your green card application outcome.

Student with F1 visa and Green card

Dear Sir,
I am a PhD student on F1 visa. I am finishing my PhD in august,2009. I have some questions regarding green card application:
1) do i have to get a post-doc appointment before I can apply for a green card? and I do have to be on a H1-B visa?
2) can you give me an estimate of how much it will cost for me and my spouse(my spouse is on F2) to apply for green card?
3) I will have 2-3 publications from my PhD – does it help for me to apply under EB1 category?
I will be looking forward to your reply,
  1. Not necessarily. You do not need to be a post-doc. Some people do file for i-140 while on an F1. We do not have experience with F1 cases to advise you on all the issues involved. Most post-docs have a H1 while they apply for GC.
  2. You can find the current fee schedule from the USCIS site. You will need to apply for i-140 (involves application fee), i485 (application fee, biometric fee, & medical examination fee) and if you need, an EAD (for employment purpose) and advanced parole (for travel). Except for the i-140 applicaiton you might want to file for all other applications twice (for your wife). You can calculate the application filng cost using the USCIS schedule.
  3. We have had people with 3 journal publications and 4 conference publication suceed in EB2-NIW. However, you will need to build a strong case. I-140 application is based on several other factors in addition to publications. For example, prizes/recognition, acting as a judge of others in the filed etc will build a strong case. You can see USCIS website (or else where on our website) for criteria for EB1A and EB2 NIW. In general EB1A is hard with just 3-4 publications unless they are top-notch in your field with lots of referrals and they represent some thing of great importance. You are the best judge to see if this is possible.

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4 Responses to Student with F1 visa and Green card

    • admin says:

      Yes you can self-petition your i-140 in EB1A or EB2 NIW. You can find more information in the free book.

      However, before you apply for change of status (i-485), you should have obtained a wavier or have satisfied your home country requirements related to J1 visa.

      Best of luck

  • Moonjung Choi says:

    Im first year Ph.d student on F1 visa.
    I will finish my degree in 5 years.
    I have 2 publication from master degree. So I don’t know how many paper I can publish during Phd degree yet.
    1) Can I apply for a green card now?
    2) Will it be much harder at second time if I fail to get a green card at first?

    I will be looking for your reply.


    • GCforPhD says:


      1) The right time to apply is when you think you have all the necessary evidence to satisfy USCIS criteria. If you can email us more information about your CV then we would be able to help. You should also be aware of limitations while applying as a student. Please see the link for more information of applying while on F1.
      2) It wont be any harder the second time.

      Best wishes

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