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.

Phd and green card application timing


I found your website today and have a question. My wife has done her Phd from university of Hyderabard, India and is working on her thesis right now. She is on H4 visa right now. She does nt have her Phd degree yet. My question is, should she have to wait until she get the degree? Or can she apply now?
I would like to emphasize that Phd is not a requirement in the USCIS criteria. So you should not think that having a Phd entities to a GC. Similarly you should not think that not having a Phd does not qualify for EB1A or NIW application. In general  Phd’s have an advantage that they have a strong background to satisfy the USCIS requirements in the EB1A or EB2-NIW categories which allows them to  self-petition for their green card. This does not require a employer sponsorship.

So to answer your question, you can apply before obtaining a Phd. We know of petitions filed by students on F1.  So there is no hard and fast rule as to when you can apply. The best time is whenever you think that you have a strong proof to support an EB1A or EB2-NIW case. USCIS has a set of criteria for permanent residency petition in each of these employment based application categories. You can find these criteria else where on the website. The example petitions in the self-help packets are designed to walk you through the process of building a strong case.

I hope this is helpful.

Best of luck
Green card for Phd Team
Helping NIW and EB1A applications
with our DIY packages

9 Responses to Phd and green card application timing

  • Shaoib says:

    Your website caught my eye today. I did PhD from non-US university and have a job offer from one of the leading US software company.

    I’ve 20+ publications and wondering if I could apply for NIW. I am overseas right now. Do I need to be US before I am eligible for this?


    • admin says:

      Both i-140 (permanent residency petition) and i-485 (adjustment of status) do not state that the applicant should be residing in the USA at the time of application. The applicant can potentially be from anywhere. You can see the USCIS criteria for the two categories on this site or here.

      Best of luck

  • nirpal says:

    I have my Ph. D. in chemistry from a US university and right now I am working as a postdoc in one of the national labs. I have 14 publicatios and ~170 citations. My question is under what category should I apply ( EB1 or NIW)?

    • admin says:

      It appears from your information that EB1a should be possible. However, we suggest you study both EB1a and EB2-NIW criteria in relation to your background and field of study. This should allow you to judge the best approach in you case.

      Best of luck

  • Purva says:

    I have MS and PhD from top US universities. I have worked on Cancer and nanotechnology field. Currently I am working as a postdoc (working on Cancer). I have one book chapter (first author), one publication (2-3 publications are on the way). But I have to apply for GC ASAP. Could you pls tell me what category should I apply (EB1a and EB2-NIW ).

    • admin says:

      From your short description, it is hard for to judge which is the appropriate category for you. Also we do not provide legal advice. So we generally let you decide what is the best suited category. In general we have found that if a phd collects all the publications, awards, various efforts along his/her phd and during his/her work experience, they may collectively be sufficient evidence for a NIW (in most cases) or EB1A (in some cases) self-petition. We suggest you look at the USCIS criteria and some example petition.

      Best of luck

  • ganguly says:

    Green Card for Phd,
    Good afternoon and A Very Happy New Year. I am graduate student in Physical Sciences and i am reaching out to you regarding EB-2 NIW Green Card(GC). I will be graduating shortly and plan to apply for my GC. I currently hold 9 publications and 10 conference poster presentations on resume. Both of these number will increase by 2 more by the i graduate. Further i also won awards from Scientific Organizations in my area of research.

    After performing some research at my own end i understood EB2 is the path for me. Please correct me if i have misunderstood this. I would like to know if I apply in April 2010 can i visit India in December 2010 and what are the possible implications of it. And I would also like if i want use your firms services how much will it cost and what kind of payment options I have available. Thank you in advance and looking forward to your response.


    • admin says:

      As you probably already know, many things determine which is the best category for you, not just the number of publications. Depending on the quality of publications, significance of your research area and importance of your work, EB1A or EB2-NIW can be options. We believe looking at some example petitions and USCIS criteria, you can best judge of your situation.

      You can visit your home country (or any other country) on your current legal visa as long as you have not applied for I-485. Once you have applied for i-485, you need to have a advance parole. You do not need to have the advance parole approved. You can apply for advance parole and then leave the country. You need an approved parole to come back to the US. For more details on the application process please read the FAQ on the website.

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