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.

Can I apply before I joint a PhD program?


I would like to buy your NIW “how to” guide so that i can use it to apply for a green card. However, I would like to ask you a question before i purchased it because i wanna make sure that it will actually help. I am about to start my PhD program in Electrical Engineering.  I was wondering if you think i could use the information in the NIW “how to” guide to self petition for a green card. Is it actually possible for me to apply before the program starts? should i wait a while? please help!
Please note  that have a PhD or joining a PhD program do not automatically qualify an applicant for a green card.

If you wish to self-petition in the NIW category, you would need to satisfy the EB2 criteria and additionally show that 1) your work is in the national interest 2) your work is of substantial intrinsic merit and will benefit the USA and 3) labor certification is not needed in your case . You can see the EB2 criteria on the USCIS website. You can apply anytime you think you can produce evidence satisfying these criteria and our packet will be helpful for such situations.
If you think you are not ready yet to produce the evidence to meet the NIW requirements, the packet may be useful in planning and structuring your work during the program to meet these criteria.
EB2 criteria is shown below for your convenience.

* EB2 Criteria
  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.
Green card for Phd Team
Helping NIW and EB1A applications
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