Frequently Asked Questions - National Interest Waiver

Green Card Without Employer's Support
Is there a direct way for me to get a green card or apply for EB-3 without my employer's support? My employer is unwilling to support me for any working visa and I am already out of the status due to this.

Three options: Extraordinary Ability Aliens, National Interest Waiver and Investment (EB-5).

NIW Requirements for a Specialist Physician
Does the USCIS make a distinction as to whether a specialist physician works in a Medically Underserved Area vs Health Professional Shortage Area versus Physician Scarcity Area? My job falls in MUA, HPSA but not PSA , is this a problem for a specialist?

NIW requires "You must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA)."

Obtaining H-1 Extension beyond 6 years
My 6 year period of H1b visa expires in Dec 2010 and my labor application is still pending for approval. It was filed in February 2009. Am I eligible to apply for a visa extension , if so when should I apply for that? I assume I still have time.

H-1 extension beyond six years can be obtained under two circumstances:

First, indefinite H-1 extensions in one-year increments can be obtained, if the I-140 (or I-485) was filed and the green card process was started a year ago. The GC process is started for:

- Labor Certification based cases (including PERM) the date for the begining of the countdown is the date when the labor certification is officially received:
- for PRE PERM cases - by the local office (SWA); and

Criteria for Outstanding Researcher/Professor Category

Preliminary requirement: The applicants must be able to document at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the specified academic field and that they are "recognized internationally."

Generally speaking, experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will not satisfy the three year requirement.

Pointers for EB1/NIW filings

The following pointers have emerged from recent cases and comments from USCIS:

1. Make sure you document the citation records (to show how many hits the journal gets), impact factor and circulation figures of the journals in which your publications appear.

2. (This we already knew) Recommendations from people who know you personally carry less weight than from those who know you by reputation.

3. Emphasize/document the "international" nature of your accomplishments.

Filing EB1 while EB2 AOS is pending

I am thinking about applying for green card under EB-1A or EB-1B. Currently I have an approved I-140 (2005, EB2). I have a few questions:
Q.a) Is the EB1A or EB1-B I-140 premium processed?

Q.b) Do I need to submit another set of I-485 with the EB-1 application even though the EB-2 I-485 are pending with USCIS?

Q.c) Which option would be better for me - EB-1A or EB-1B? I am currently an associate professor at XXX University.
 

Basic Criteria for Extraordinary Ability

This morning, I was working on explaining to a client (whom I respect greatly), one of the foremost musicians from India, how EB1 (Extraordinary Ability) category applies to musicians and performers. As I was sending him the basic information on EB1 category, I thought I will share the general criteria with all of you. This information is for EA, generally and applies to all fields - not just music. See attached.

National Interest Waiver (NIW) Filing When Priority Date is Not Current
I am a staff in University of Pittsburgh and still have 3 more years to complete 6 yrs of my H1B. H1B sponsorship is an issue for me getting a new job. 1) When I apply for a NIW -EB2, can I simultaneously apply for I140, EAD, 485 simultaneously? 2) Although the green card date for Indians with EB2 is not current, can USCIS approve my EAD much earlier ( may be within a year) compared to approving 485 which might take several years? 3) Further can I use that approved EAD to change jobs by bypassing H1B sponsorship?
Physicians (FMG) NIW, AC21 portability, Teaching to clinical position
Do the 3 years spent in residency training in an HPSA/MUA area be counted towards the five years required for NIW? The residency training (3 years) and subsequent job (2 years) were on H1B visa in two different HPSA/MUA areas but not processed through NIW route. Can the NIW petition be filed now retrospectively for those years already worked in underserved areas? My current GC sponsoring job is in a University teaching hospital (job designation Assistant Professor) but obviously also involves treating patients. The PERM prevailing wage category was teacher/ Professor but job description included patient care. Can the job be changed to that involving only patient care (no teaching) and still be considered same/ similar? How about a job (with patient care only & no teaching) in a private practice (as opposed to hospital employee)?
Processing Times Involved in NIW
If I may verify the processing times involved in NIW. Since it falls under EB2 category, I am assuming it may be a long time before I can get my EAD card and be able to change employers. Also, I want to confirm if there could be issues if I change employers during the process - If so, I'd prefer to change my current employer before starting with it.

You can change employers any time if you are a self-applicant and will continue to work in your stated area of national interest.  But NIW priority date will take the same time as a normal EB-2 application does.  See: 

Physician filing green card
1. I am a Canadian physician on an H-1B (never been on J-1) which expires June 30th, 2017. I am currently doing a 2 year fellowship. I'm contemplating pursuing the physician NIW process vs EB-2 through potential employer. For EB-2, my understanding is that I need to be eligible for a full-time physician position on the day the employer submits the ad. Since I won't complete my general residency until June 30th, 2016, my potential employer cannot begin recruitment until July 1, 2016, correct? 2. In your experience, is 1 year enough time to complete the EB-2 process?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=1852

Do I Qualify for EB-1
I got my Ph.D. (biochemistry and molecular biology) and I have 3+ years of post-doctoral experience. I have 4 publications (3 lead author) in human pathogenic research. Could you please comment on my eligibility for EB-1 or NIW.

My best GUESS is probably not. While NIW/EB-1 should not be a numbers game: how many publications, how many citations..., but it often ends up like that. Given that if you had one publication in a premier journal like Science, that would could count a lot more than 5 or 10 publications in a lower impact factor journal.