Getting a Green Card with a PhD
Once you complete your PhD program, your degree does not automatically grant you a green card in the US. However, having outstanding achievements such as a PhD can help you to qualify.
The most common green card categories for PhD holders to apply under are the EB-1A and EB-1B. These categories are both for those who have made significant contributions in their field and are not easy to qualify for.
They require extensive documentation to support your claim and these categories are carefully reviewed by USCIS.
This category is for foreign nationals who have extraordinary abilities and have made outstanding achievements in the areas of arts, science, business, or sports. Proof of your achievement may include an international award, significant commercial successes, or other international recognition.
When you apply for a green card through the EB-1A category, you may need to submit the following documents to meet USCIS criteria for eligibility:
- An international award
- Other international recognition such as major media articles or other published material
- Scholarly articles that were published in major trade publications or other major media.
- Proof of significant contribution or a leading or critical role in your field.
- Proof of international acclaim.
- Membership of an association or organization that requires the member to possess major significance in the field and exceptional ability.
- Recommendation letters from influential persons in your industry.
- Proof of a salary that is exceptionally larger than others in your position.
This category is for outstanding professors and researchers.
PhD holders who apply under this category may need to submit the following evidence:
- An international award or other international acclaim
- Proof of significant contributions in your research field.
- Membership in an organization that supports your claim for exceptional ability.
- Material published by other respected figures regarding your work in the research field.
- Proof that you hold a leading or critical role in your industry, such as participating as a judge for the work of your peers.
- Scholarly articles or other published work that appears in major trade publications or other major media.
In both EB-1 categories, you may be able to submit comparable evidence if your circumstances are unique. It is best to consult a qualified immigration lawyer to determine if you may be eligible to apply under this category.
How to Apply for a Green Card
Obtaining a US green card permits you to live and work permanently in the US as a foreign national. You do not need your PhD degree in order to apply under the EB-1 categories as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
International students may choose to begin the green card process while they are still in a PhD program. Once you determine your eligibility, you must submit your required documents, petition, and fees to the USCIS. You can self-petition or if you have a US employer, they may be eligible to petition on your behalf
The application process for a green card can be lengthy because applicants must wait for priority dates to match up before they can submit their applications. Your priority date can not be expedited.
Applicants for green cards may need to wait up to twelve months to receive a decision. Some employment-based green cards may be able to be expedited in some situations with premium processing. If you have a permanent job offer from a US company, employer sponsorship may be a significant benefit over self-petitioning.
How Can Total Law Help?
With Total Law, immigration services are provided by our team of expert immigration lawyers. Get quality legal assistance to navigate the process to lawful permanent residence in the US.
Your Total Law advisor will provide you with up-to-date advice on current immigration law and help you to put together the strongest evidence to support your claim for a green card.
For further information, contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or use our online contact form to get in touch with our team of qualified immigration lawyers.
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An expert immigration lawyer such as Total Law can help you with the application process for a green card in a number of ways. They may advise you on the best route to take for your situation, let you know updates on current immigration laws, and ensure you have the correct documents and forms when putting together your application package.
No, green card holders are not considered US citizens. A green card is proof that you are a permanent resident of the US, although you will not have the same rights that citizens have. If you are a foreign national PhD holder who intends to pursue United States citizenship, contact a qualified immigration attorney to assist you.
While a degree can help you to be eligible, it does not guarantee you a green card. What matters more is the quality and success of the applicant’s research, outstanding achievements, international acclaim, and significant contributions in their field of study or work.