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.

Need help on deciding between NIW-EB2 and O1


I have a little complicated issue. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m on my OPT that will expire on next January. I was planning to apply for green card through EB2-NIW by end of this month. But now I need to travel back to my country due to an urgent family issue. I can stay maximum until end of this year. I believe it’s not possible to get the advance parole documents within the limited time that I have now (1 1/2 months). I am wondering whether applying to O1 is the best option for me now?

I have completed more that 80% on my EB2-NIW application packet, is it possible to apply for both EB2-NIW and O1 simultaneously ? My intention is to request premium process on O1 application, so that I can travel in and out to US while my NIW-CP application pending (if O1 approved). I am currently employed and my employer is willing to file for O1.

Thanks in-advance.

5 Responses to Need help on deciding between NIW-EB2 and O1

  • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

    If you are from India or mainland China, then your I-140 should be approved first and then you will have to wait several years before you can file I-485 and I-131. If you are not from India or mainland China, then you can file I-140 concurrently with I-485 and I-131, but again 1.5 months is not enough to receive the advanced parole. Having O-1 is a good idea. There should not be any problem with applying for both O-1 and EB2-NIW at the same time, since O-1 is a dual intent visa. If you are from STEM fields, then you can recycle a successful petition for O-1 and apply for EB1A in the future, since the criteria are similar.

  • Pan says:

    Thank you very much Tigran for your prompt reply.

    1. Can I travel out of US while O1 pending (if in-case I need to travel ASAP) ?

    3. In case if I apply for EB2-NIW and if i140 get approved, will my O1 visa/application get automatically abandoned once the EB2-NIW case transferred to my home country consulate (not India or China) for further processing of CP?

    Thank you.

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      1. You can leave U.S. while O-1 is pending. You will need a visa stamp (either O-1 or your current F-1) to come back though.
      2. No it should not get abandoned, because I-140 is a petition, not yet the adjustment of status.

  • Puneet Paul says:


    I am a post doctoral research associate on J1 visa, started in July, 2016. I would like to ask whether I can still apply for green card or is it too soon for that. What all documents I need to prepare in order to file for the same.

    Thanks, your response will be very much appreciated.


    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      Hi Puneet,

      Please have look at the description of the criteria for the EB1A and EB2-NIW green cards on this website. If you think you may satisfy the criteria, then you can have a look at our DIY packets for a detailed review of the documentation that can be submitted. The main document is the I-140 petition that demonstrates that you satisfy the USCIS criteria and that the permanent residence should be given to you. It is a bulky document and there are many details that should be taken into account, that’s why I would like to encourage you to have a look at our manuals.
      There is no such thing as waiting time after getting your PhD. Some people can apply even before starting a postdoc and some are not ready long time after getting the one – it depends on many circumstances. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding the criteria or during the preparation of the petition.

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