Getting a green card with phd is the dream of many doctoral graduates. They invest time and money in obtaining the highest degree possible to make a difference in their field of study and work hard to build a name for themselves internationally.
They share their research findings at conferences and around the world, gaining international recognition and fostering global collaborations. Their PhD training teaches them how to delve deep into a subject, developing comprehensive knowledge and producing original perspectives, methods, and impactful insights showcased in their dissertations and publications.
PhD to Permanent Residency: The Pathway to a Green Card
Unfortunately, their specialized knowledge doesn’t automatically translate into a path to permanent residency. While the EB-1 (National Interest Waiver) category may be available to them, it is a difficult avenue to pursue. They must first obtain a job offer with the requisite skills and complete the labor certification process. This requires proving that no other qualified US citizens are available for the position. This can be challenging for a Ph.D, especially in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field.
Moreover, the EB-1 visa is only available to those with “extraordinary ability” and that requires substantial evidence of their achievement and recognition. Even if they meet the EB1 criteria, it will take several years to get through the backlog and receive their green cards. As a result, most Ph.Ds end up sponsored for H-1B visas through their employers and then transitioning to employment-based green cards. Fortunately, a new bill that passed in the House of Representatives will give STEM doctorates a direct pathway to permanent residence.