Good to be Greened!


There’re many many forums that discuss various aspects related to the greencard process. One of the recurring questions seems to be how many publications you need for EB1-EA/NIW. My case is neither since it was filed under EB1-OR., but thought I would just share with you what I had at the time of applying in case someone finds it useful. My impression/understanding based on various forums I’ve read is that the criteria for EB1-EA/NIW is a lot harder since these categories don’t require a job offer. Anyway, this is what I had:

  1. PhD in Computer Science (completed in 2010)
  2. 16 journal publications (9 first author) – mostly international fairly high-impact journals.
  3. 12 conference papers (6 first author)
  4. 13 reviewer invitations (6 direct, 2 on behalf of supervisor, 5 rejected)
  5. 12 awards (8 national/university level awards related to PhD work, 3 travel grants, 1 international recognition where a paper was selected to be included in the Yearbook of Medical Informatics)
  6. 4 emails/threads showing where other researchers had reached out to me asking for my advice/opinion
  7. 103 Google Scholar hits
  8. 60+ citations (excluding self citations) from 17 different countries – got this from Scopus
  9. 14 Pubmed entries (good journals are indexed in Pubmed if you’re in the medical domain)
  10. 2 provisional patent applications (i.e., not granted yet)
  11. 4 recommendation letters (2 from PhD supervisors, 1 from internship mentor, 1 from my project leader in the company)

You need to meet only two out of the following requirements for EB1-OR:

  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field – (citations?)
  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field – (peer-reviewed?)
  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field – (publications?)

I’m not totally sure of the difference between the last two since you can’t have publications unless you have original research. So I think you can’t have the last on its own, but if you can show that you have original research that hasn’t been published (yet?), then the one before last could be a standalone. So my guess is that if you have publications, you have already met the last two. Anyway, in my case, I think I met all except for the association membership criterion, although I may have been somewhat thin on the first (since my awards are mainly local).

This was the timeline from filing to approval:

11 April 2012: Filed I-140 under Premium Processing

13th April: USCIS received application – 2 days

16th April: I-140 approved (what a surprise..approved in 3 days!) – 5 days

30th April: I-485 filed – 19 days

19th May: Received EAD-AP combo card in the mail – 38 days

20th June: Had biometrics done – 60 days

20th July: I-485 approved for me; RFE for wife – 90 days

26th July: Permanent resident card arrived in mail – 96 days

10th August: Response for RFE filed

15th August: RFE accepted. Card ordered.

20th August: Card received

The RFE was a bit silly since we had submitted these documents already. Turns out it’s pretty common for the spouse to get an RFE. This is what we had:

  1. Please submit a copy of your official birth certificate. If the document is not in English, please include a certified English translation. If a birth certificate does not exist or cannot be obtained, you must demonstrate this and submit secondary evidence pertinent to the facts at issue.
  2. Submit a copy of the biographical page of your passport.

The Fragomen lawyers handled the entire process and it all took roughly 3 months from I-140 filing to I-485 approval. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole process although gathering the documents and all was a pain!  The lawyers + their team was top notch and made the whole process very smooth. Once USCIS made a mistake in my country of citizenship and even before I pointed this out, they had proactively taken steps to address this. On another occasion, they took care of a translation that was required – when the translation was done, there had been a spelling error and they had already gone back to the translator to fix the error. No idea if they handle individual cases, or what the charges are, but if anyone’s looking for a good lawyer/law firm, I can highly recommend these guys.

Note: Post is backdated since I don’t want this to be the first post in the blog

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3 Responses to Good to be Greened!

  1. Ajit says:

    Fragomen is the law firm that handled my H-1B/Green Card process when I started working for the consulting firm (in NJ) that allowed me to work at IBM in 1989. For a long time, I had their correspondence with my employer. Fragomen letterhead may indicate a partner by the name of John Carter. They are a very good law firm for immigration matters.

  2. Swathi Sunkara says:

    Hi, thanks for the information. What do you mean by google scholar hits?

  3. In this case I was just referring to typing my name into https://scholar.google.com/.

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