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Is it ok to apply for a green card while on a OPT?

Published Apr 16,2020 By GCforPhD

Questions:

 

Dear Sir, 

 
I am a recent PhD graduate and working as research assistant with my university and recently received my engineer in training ( EIT ) certification. 
 
I am looking for NIW green card which in my opinion suits me. 
 
I have 3 publications and hoping finish 1 soon. I have 8 citations for one paper and two papers are published recently so yet to get citation for those. 
 
Right now I am working on OPT on a project funded by National Science Foundation ( NSF) which is one of the prestigious organisation involved in advancement of science and technology and supported by federal government. 
 
My doubts are:
 
1) Is the transition from my current OPT (F1) status to NIW green card risky?
 
2) Is there any scope of first getting my academic H1B and then applying for NIW green card? Is that transition without any risk?
 
3) Is the I-140 approval is the indication of green card approval?
 
4) Does I-140 approval country specific? i am from India and there is waiting time for green card for india and china for numbers to be available. Does it a case with I-140 also?
 
5) Could one leave and enter US for work/family purpose if he/she has I-140 approval?
 
Sorry for asking too many questions. But could not resist. 
 
Thanks 
 
Answer:
 
Since you have 3 publications and 8 citations, you would need other strong evidence to support you NIW case, which is possible. Please see the NIW page and example petitions. 
 
Your questions are answered below.
 
1) It depends on the situation. If you apply for a GC while on OPT you have expressed intent to immigrate which is in conflict with F1 visa requirements. This may preclude you from obtaining a F1 renewal if needed. So if you do not anticipate you need an extension then you are ok. Also if you were born in India or in china there is a long wait time for NIW. So you would not get a GC for quiet sometime. And during this time you may not be able to renew F1. 
 
2) Applying while on a H1b is generally better compared to applying on an F1. In either cases (OPT or H1B) you would still need to satisfy USCIS criteria. If the criteria is not met then the application can be risky.
 
3) NO. I-140 approval is the first stage. After this you would need to apply for I-485, which has a long wait times for Indian and Chinese born applicants because the priority dates are retrogressed. Please see our free ebook for more details. 
 
4) NO. I-140 is not country specific. However number of approvals for I-485 is. Please see the ebook.
 
5) Yes. Generally you can leave and come back if you have a valid visa. If you have also applied for a I-485 then it is better to leave with an advanced parole (AP) document. More details in the ebook.
 
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