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Postdoc Associate

Published Jun 7,2018 By NEETESH SINGH

Hi There,

I have a couple of questions:

I am currently working in MIT as a postdoc in nonlinear photonics. I was thinking of applying for the green card next year since I don’t have many citation to apply for EB1 this year (>200). But I wanted to do that from overseas (Germany for example) while working there as a research scientist in DESY. Do you think it it will be complicated to apply from overseas?

My second question is related to National labs (since I saw in the welcome page you have worked in NL): Does green card help in securing a national lab jobs or citizenship is required. I am mostly interested in SNL, LLNL..cause that’s the only option I have. Most of the jobs I see require Q/L level clearance i.e. citizenship is required.

Could you be kind enough to answer these questions?

Also if it helps, I am originally from India but have Australian passport.



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Tigran Kalaydzhyan
Tigran Kalaydzhyan
6 years ago

Hi Neetesh,

You can apply from overseas. In order to do that, you should opt for the consular processing in the I-140 form. In this case, if your I-140 is approved, you can apply for the green card in the U.S. consulate (in your case, in Berlin). In fact, it probably makes sense to apply from Germany if you already secured a position there, because current average processing times for the I-485 form are about a year. By the way, when you are arranging immigration documents with DESY, you can ask for the Blue Card (EU Blaue Karte) instead of the usual residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). This way, if something goes wrong with the Green Card, you can apply for the German permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis) in 21 months after obtaining the Blue Card (if you learn German, otherwise in 33 months, see the link below).

Speaking of National Labs, I am not aware of a big difference in opportunities between green card holders and J1/H1B visa holders. Normally, if you are hired as a staff member and you need to be a U.S. person, they will hire a lawyer to prepare the green card for you. If we are talking about temporary positions, such as a postdoc, then there is not much difference, at least to my knowledge. As you correctly noticed, being a U.S. citizen vs. foreigner is more important. In non-government industry, however, having a green card will give you a huge advantage comparing to others.

6 years ago

I wanted to add couple of observations regarding opportunities in the U.S. National labs or industry. If the type of project a foreign national is planning to work is ITAR controlled then having a permanent residency would definitely make a difference. Generally, ITAR controlled projects are restricted to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. So employers prefer foreign nationals with a green card over ones without. However, if a National lab (or industrial company) is interested in a foreign national without a green card, then they would have to hire them to work on non-ITAR projects first, sponsor their green card, and once they are permanent residents, move them to ITAR projects.

Like Tigran pointed out, National labs commonly hire foreign national postdocs (temporary positions) on a H1/J1 visa to work on non-ITAR projects. Some of these postdocs later transition to work on ITAR projects, as permanent staff, once they get their green card.

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