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I Am a PhD Degree Holder, Can I Self-Petition for U.S. Green Card?

Hi William,

I am a PhD degree holder, can I self-petition for U.S. Green Card?


Post doctoral researchers, PhD degree holders, and some PhD students can apply for their Green Card (or U.S. permanent residency). With a PhD degree, you can file self-petition for U.S. Green Card in EB1 Extraordinary Ability category (EB-1A), or in EB2 National Interest Wavier (EB2-NIW), without U.S. employer to sponsor your Green Card application in these categories.

The major advantage of self-petitioning is that you do not need an employer to sponsor you. So you do not need a permanent job offer to apply for Green Card, and you are not tied to any U.S. employer.

A PhD degree is not a requirement in the USCIS criteria for Green Card application. Therefore, having a PhD degre does not entitles to U.S. Green Card.
In general, PhD degree holders have an advantage that they have a strong background and they are more likely to satisfy the USCIS requirements in the EB-1A or EB2-NIW categories. This allows PhD degree holders to self-petition for their Green Card, which does not require an employer sponsorship. Also, not having a PhD degree does not qualify you for EB-1A or NIW application.

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