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Graduate Student

Published Feb 6,2019 By P.B

Hello! I am a graduate student getting closer to graduation and thinking about applying (self-petition) for NIW and would like to know if you recommend applying before graduating or after.

Here are my credentials:

  • Bachelor of Science degree from a US university
  • 6.5 years Research experience in cancer immunotherapy field (2.5 yrs as a research assistant, rest as PhD student), so I do meet advanced degree requirement without the PhD
  • 7 research articles, first author in 2 of them
  • 3 conference abstracts
  • >20 oral and poster presentations at international/national/regional conferences
  • Current citation count: 205 (10-15 of these are probably self or by someone from our department
  • My research work has facilitated manufacturing of therapies for use in clinic at institutions across the U.S. and in few other countries as well – will be able to get some good letters of support highlighting the impact of my work

In the next 6-8 months, I will have a PhD, 2 more first-author papers, 2-3 co-author papers, probably will get chance to review few papers for journals, a few presentations, one patent application submitted, and tech-transfer (my current project) between my university and a biotech.

When I consulted a lawyer, they told me I can apply right now and chances of approval are good and don’t need to wait until I graduate. And I actually want to do that because my wife, who is currently working on F-1 OPT will run out of her OPT in Fall this year (she ‘s non-STEM and H1B isn’t possible). So, we’re thinking about filing I-140 together with concurrent I-485. Before I jump in, I wanted go get a second opinion.

Thanks a lot for chiming in!

 

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Tigran Kalaydzhyan
Tigran Kalaydzhyan
5 years ago

Hi P.B.,

Before answering the question, I would like to ask you about your (and your wife’s) country of birth.

P.B.
P.B.
5 years ago

We’re both from Nepal
Thank you

Tigran Kalaydzhyan
Tigran Kalaydzhyan
5 years ago
Reply to  P.B.

This is good, meaning that your priority date is current and you can file I-485 at any time, which I wanted to make sure is possible. Your profile is solid and can lead to a successful case (even though chances seem to be better for applicants with PhD). It looks like your situation is more about weighting the risks. If you get your PhD and file I-140/I-485 before your wife’s F1 expires, this would be a good additional point to your case. However, if you file I-140 now and get the answer before the fall of this year, you will have more room to maneuver (like filing another, improved, petition). Additional risk is money, because filing concurrent applications together with your spouse will cost you about $3000 in government fees, while filing I-140 only is $700. If I were you, I would take into account these risks and make the following plan: file I-140 now and wait until fall. If approved or pending, file both I-148. If denied, improve petition (possibly with a lawyer) and file concurrently with both I-485. This depends, of course, on personal priorities and doesn’t constitute an advise.

P.B.
P.B.
5 years ago

Thank you very much for your suggestions! Filing just the I-140 for now definitely makes more sense and is probably what I will do. Appreciate your insights!

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