NIW with no Ph.D./ for Ph.D. Candidates/ Ph.D. Students/ Master Degree

PhD for Green Card
NIW Eligibility Without a Ph.D.
Some clients worry they won’t qualify for the EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) without a Ph.D. However, a Ph.D. is not a requirement for the NIW, and many petitioners have been approved while still Ph.D. students. You can apply for the EB-2 NIW if you meet the minimum entry requirements, which include:

Possessing an advanced degree (above a bachelor’s), such as a master’s degree.
Having the equivalent of an advanced degree (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the relevant field).
Meeting the exceptional ability requirements.
No Ph.D. is necessary to obtain a Green Card.

Considerations for Students on F-1 Visas
Applicants on F-1 student visas should be aware of their visa status. While the F-1 visa does not permit immigrant intent, filing an I-140 will not invalidate an F-1 visa. This means that I-140 petitioners can remain in the U.S. on F-1 or F-1 OPT status after filing the I-140 NIW, regardless of the petition’s outcome.

However, if an F-1 holder plans to apply for OPT or renew/extend their F-1 visa, immigration officers may reassess non-immigrant intent. A USCIS memo states that filing for I-140 does not necessarily negate non-immigrant intent. The officer will consider various factors, such as whether the petitioner maintains foreign residency, their connections to their home country, and the timing of the I-140 filing.

Given these complexities, it is advisable to retain an attorney before filing the EB-2 NIW. At Aria Law Group, we assist with the preparation of your EB-2 NIW petition and provide expert advice to avoid potential visa issues during the I-140 petition process.

Green Card for Ph.D. Holders
A Ph.D. is not required for a Green Card, but for those who do have a Ph.D., it can significantly strengthen their application.

Examples of NIW Approvals for Ph.D. Candidates
Ph.D. students often worry about their chances of approval when filing for the EB-2 NIW, believing their student status might be a disadvantage. In reality, the EB-2 NIW focuses on the projected future benefits to the U.S. and the petitioner’s past accomplishments. Since approval is not based on current employment or position, Ph.D. students can indeed succeed in obtaining the NIW.

Our strategy highlights your past contributions and achievements in your field to build a compelling case, regardless of your current status as a Ph.D. student.

PhD for Green Card
NIW Eligibility Without a Ph.D.
Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate:
A Biomedical Engineering doctoral student sought our assistance. Our strategy focused on highlighting his significant contributions to his field. We emphasized two groundbreaking advancements that positioned him as a pioneer in specific technology. To support his case, we helped him obtain six reference letters from professionals in his field, attesting to the impact of his research. Additionally, we researched similar case rulings to develop a robust strategy. By showcasing his prior achievements, we secured EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) approval for him.

Computer Engineering Ph.D. Candidate:
We assisted a Computer Engineering Ph.D. candidate by presenting substantial evidence of his contributions. This included at least five peer-reviewed articles and proof of over eighty citations by colleagues worldwide, demonstrating the influence of his work. We also crafted reference letters detailing the importance of his research to various industries. By highlighting his unique achievements and expertise, we argued that he would significantly benefit the national interest. Consequently, he received NIW approval within just four months.

Master’s Degree Holders
For clients with only a Master’s Degree, the EB-2 NIW requirements still apply, as the degree meets the advanced degree criterion. For these clients, documenting all past accomplishments and contributions, along with proof of the advanced degree, is sufficient. Since Ph.D. candidates may not have numerous citations or publications, strong reference letters outlining their significant impact and contributions are critical for EB-2 NIW success.

Encouragement for Ph.D. Candidates
We encourage Ph.D. candidates to contact our firm regarding EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitions. Although a Ph.D. is not mandatory for NIW approval, a well-prepared evidence package and petition are essential. We have secured approvals for many clients without a Ph.D., and during the case assessment, our attorneys will determine if you meet the EB-2 NIW requirements.

Success Stories
See our success stories for EB-2 NIW clients who were Ph.D. candidates at the time of filing:

EB-2 NIW Approval for a Computational Physics Ph.D. Candidate
EB-2 NIW Approval in 7 weeks for a Biochemistry Ph.D.
EB-2 NIW Approval in 4 months for a Computer Engineering Ph.D. Candidate
EB-2 NIW Approval after RFE for a Bioengineering Ph.D. Candidate and Research Assistant
EB-2 NIW Approval in 1 month for a Molecular Biology Ph.D. Candidate
EB-2 NIW Approval in 5½ months for a Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate
EB-2 NIW Approval in 6 weeks for a Design Computing Ph.D. Candidate
EB-2 NIW Approval in only 32 days for a Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. Student
EB-2 NIW Approval for a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Student
We look forward to helping you navigate the EB-2 NIW process and achieve your immigration goals.

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