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

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PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering on STEM extension – Would like to apply for a green card in EB2 NIW category


I graduated with a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Kansas State University in Dec 2013. I started working as a Quality Assurance Engineer on contract at a financial technology start-up in March 2014 and moved to a full-time position as a Research Engineer at the same company in Oct 2014. However, my company does not sponsor employee green card. I have recently applied for a STEM extension which would give me an OPT extension up to June, 2016 (starting Jan 2015)

1. I have 5 published journal papers, including a Nature Scientific Reports article and 4 of them are first-author publications, 2 book chapters and 4 conference publications ( total of 76 citations, h-index of 5)

2. I have reviewed the work of others :  I have been a reviewer for 13-15 papers (journal and conference – IEEE and non-IEEE)

3. I have record of professional service: I have been the graduate student representative for the Engineering Dean Search Committee at Kansas State University

4. My PhD research was based on algorithms and computational models for preventing cascading failures in power grid systems 

5. I have won a research award for the university at the state level during my PhD

What, according to you, are my chances of getting through a green card application under the EB2 NIW category? Does it matter that it is almost a year since my graduation and the work that I do at my company is still based on algorithms and modeling but for a financial system? How long does it normally take to know whether the application has been approved or not?

Thank you! 


3 Responses to PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering on STEM extension – Would like to apply for a green card in EB2 NIW category

  • GCforPhD says:


    You seem to satisfy more than 3 statutory requirements for exceptional ability EB2-NIW. Besides the USCIS EB2 requirements, you would need to show that your work is in US national interest., has substantial intrinsic merit, national in scope and does not need labor certification. It appears from your description and research work, that you would be able to show evidence to satisfy these. So you have a good chance is EB2-NIW. It should not matter when you apply after your graduation as long as you can show that you are continuing to work in the same area of research. In your case, if you mention your area of research as algorithms, modeling and applications then you should be fine. I-140 approval usually takes less than 3 months. Once you apply for I-485, the processing time is also approximately 3 months. However when you can apply for I-485 depends on your nationality and current priority dates.

    If your are from Indian or China, then the entire process can take several years. Otherwise it should be 6 months to an year.

    Although not as strong a case, EB1a may also be an option in your case. You satisfy the statutory requirements. In addition you need to show you are one of the top people in your field and there is sustained interest in your work. If you can show evidence towards these you have a chance in EB1a.

    Best wishes

  • Monu Malik says:

    Hi, I am a PhD student in Ontario Canada and hopefully going to complete it in October 2016. After that I will apply for PR in Canada and I also wants to apply for GC in state. My question is, can I apply for PR and GC at same time. And how to find whether my topic of thesis is in national interest or not? When I should start the application process? My topic of thesis is thermal management of lithium-ion battery for electric and hybrid electric vehicles using carbon nanotube material. My nationality is India. I have several research papers and book chapters.I have done my masters from one of best institute in india ( Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee. Please advise.

    • GCforPhD says:


      PR and GC are applied at different organizations (Canadian and US respectively). You can apply them independently without affecting the other.

      Below is some information on what constitutes national interest.
      USCIS states that there are no established rules that define what is considered US national interest and applications are generally judged on an individual basis. However, there are some general conditions that are regarded to be in the US national interest. A few examples include

      your work is expected to benefit the US economy
      your work will improve working conditions in the US
      your work helps national security
      your work directly related to defense research
      your work improves national health conditions
      your work is fundamental research with wide ranging implications to the US
      There can be numerous other situations that can qualify as US national interest.

      From your description we would think your work can be considered in the US national interest.

      You should be aware that if you are born in India there is a long wait time in the NIW category.

      If you can email us more details (full CV) we should be able to suggest if EB1a is appropriate in your case.

      Best wishes

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