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.

EB1 EA for an entrepreneur with a PhD

Thanks for providing detailed help on these website. I have two questions. First, let me give some background as mine is slightly different.

I finished my PhD in Computer Engineering from a top 10 school in the US and towards the end of my PhD started a company that commercializes my dissertation research. As part of the startup, I wrote a research proposal  as sole principal investigator that won a SBIR Phase I grant from NSF of $150K. I also raised other funding from state government and private sources of another $200K.  Can the NSF grant be considered as a nationally recognized award?  I have 1 US issued patent and 3 US patent applications pending. I have 14 publications, out of which 6 published at top venues in my field and have over 110 citations according to Google Scholar.

I am on OPT and haven’t changed my visa status from F1 yet.  My lawyer said I better apply for O1 before applying for EB1 EA. My questions are as follow:

1. Have you heard of successful cases in which the candidate got green card through EB1 EA while on OPT (F1- visa)?

2. Based on your experience, how strong will my application for EB1 EA, assuming I can get 6 to 10 strong letters from mentors and outside experts?


One Response to EB1 EA for an entrepreneur with a PhD

  • GCforPhD says:


    Your questions are answered below

    1. Yes we have heard of several EB1EA approvals while on F1. The cases have to be truly extraordinary. As you may be aware there are limitations of applying while on an F1, namely you may not be able to extend your OPT after the EB1a application is filed. You should also be aware of typical current processing times for EB1a can be between 4mo to 1 year (although we have recently seen I-140 approval in just 4 days of receipt of application).

    2. You stand a very good chance of success in the EB1a category.

    Best wishes

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