Green Card for a PhD or Postdoc

Self Petition in EB2 NIW or EB1A with DIY Packages
(from original approved petitions)

Serving since 2007


Blog posts

Bulletin Source: Department of state Applies to: Green card applicants Detailed Bulletin: March 2009 Summary of Visa Bulletin Relevant to EB1A and NIW EB1 is current for all countries EB2 is...

Question I am a PhD holder from UK working in Biofuels and currently residing in UK. I was wondering, since my qualification is not from any university from USA, am I eligible to apply under EB2-...

Question: I am a PhD and working as a software engineer. Could you please tell me how I can formulate my documents for NIW application? Do I need recommendation letters from my manager? Answer:...

Questions: Dear friends my name is []  and I am a PhD/postdoc from Italy. I did postdoc in the USA. I would be interested in getting the green card and I found your website on the net. Can you...

Detailed Bulletin Summary of Visa Bulletin Relevant to EB1A and NIW There is significant advance in the cutoff date for Indian nationals. EB1 is current for all countries EB2 cutoff date for India...

Postdocs can take advantage of EB1A or EB2-NIW self petition

There are several ways (employment based, family based, lottery based, political asylum, refugee etc) a green card is issued. In general, employment based green card are granted based on applicants permanent employment status or prospects of a permanent employment status. EB1 through EB5 refer to employment based green card application categories.  Among these categories, immigration applicants in two classifications  are not required to have a job offer and may self-petition (the worker does not need an employer to sponsor them).  These classifications are 1) individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, and  2) individuals who qualify under the National Interest Waiver (NIW). These two classifications fall under EB1 and EB2 and are usually referred to as EB1A or E11 (extraordinary ability) and EB2 NIW or E21 (National interest wavier) respectively.


Postdoctoral scholars, PhDs (and some exceptional PhD students) can take advantage of the two classifications for their green card / permanent residency application.  Please note that PhD is not a requirement in any of these categories. So you cannot usually think just a PhD degree alone would help you get a green card. Having a PhD helps because, PhDs naturally tend to have significant evidence (such as publications, journal reviews, citations, press releases/media coverage, awards, memberships etc)  which satisfy the USCIS requirements. As a PhD you can self-petition for your permanent residency in either EB1-A, extraordinary ability or EB2-NIW, National interest wavier categories. Below are some advantages of a self petition. 


Advantages of Green Card Through Self Petition

  • These two categories do not require a sponsorship from an employer.
  • These categories do not require a permanent job offer.
  • Beneficiaries can self-petition and their application is not tied to any employer.
  • Beneficiaries have a great flexibility in changing jobs within their research area.
  • Beneficiaries can by-pass the PERM labor certification process saving them significant amount time.
  • Beneficiaries can be living in the United States or living outside the United States at the time of application.

While not specific to self petition, additional advantages of obtaining a green card for a PhD include

  • Beneficiaries may be able concurrently file allowing their families also to take immediate advantage of employment authorization for job purpose and advanced parole for travel abroad. 


All the employment categories combined, approximately 140,000  immigrant visas are available each year for primary applicants (and their spouses and children) who seek to obtain green cards based on their job skills.

Our packets will help you file for a green card without a lawyer.


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.