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F1 PhD Candidate on STEM OPT (did not defend yet) + STEM expires Jan 2025 + NIW Chances – From India

Published Apr 4,2023 By Siddharth

Hi everyone! I’m a PhD Candidate that currently working full-time on STEM OPT. I have not defended yet, so I don’t have my PhD with me yet. My H1B wasn’t picked twice and with the current probability I am afraid of a much lower probability for the next year (last attempt). My STEM OPT Expires in Jan 2025, and I wanted to understand the risks involved in me applying for an EB1/EB2 NIW. I have about 5 publications (only 1 first author) with 27 citations in total. I know this is low because I’m from India.

[1] Do I stand any chance for NIW EB2 based on my Masters? Which was from US too. Can I still include my PhD progress?

[2] Will my current STEM OPT be terminated?

[3] I just went home and renewed my F-1 visa up to 2028. But that doesn’t mean anything as my STEM OPT ends in Jan 2025. Does it?

[4] If I apply for I-140 in this month, can I get to the next stage of I-485 before Jan 2025? If so, can continue to work after applying for I-485?

[5] Any suggestions are welcome, please!

Thank you for your time!

Sid

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BlogSupport
BlogSupport
10 months ago

Hi Siddharth,

If you are an Indian national, the NIW category is virtually unavailable to you. Even if your I-140 is approved, you won’t be able to apply for I-485 for many years. Current backlog is 11 years, see the “DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS” chart in the visa bulletin through the link below,
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2023/visa-bulletin-for-april-2023.html

Current priority date for EB1 is 01JUN22, so there is less than a year of backlog. Without PhD and with low citation count you have a risk of being denied. However, if you are approved, you may be able to file I-485 and obtain EAD before Jan 2025.

Siddharth
Siddharth
10 months ago

Thank you for your response. I agree that the current EB-2 I-485 wait times are way too long. If I were to apply though, would I be able to stay in the US after my I-140 gets approved? All I want is to buy more time for my H1-B to be picked. Is there any other way? It just hurts to be kicked out without an option.

BlogSupport
BlogSupport
10 months ago
Reply to  Siddharth

Unfortunately, approved I-140 won’t allow you to stay in the U.S. You will need to file I-485 for that.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 months ago

Hi, I’m currently on OPT which expires in June 2023. I applied for a STEM-OPt couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I got my I-140 (NIW) approved and also got selected for H1B. My priority date is current (Rest of the world)

1. What is the chance of getting approval for the stem opt?

2. I am planning to submit my I-485 packet next week, is there any contradiction that may jeopardize my application or what will you advise in this regard.

Thanks

BlogSupport
BlogSupport
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I do not have enough data points to gauge the chances of STEM-OPT approval. My guess would be that your OPT application can be denied once I-485 and I-765 are filed. Filing I-485 with OPT pending should be alright. However, we do not offer a legal advice and it is recommended to consult with a qualified immigration attorney.

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