Why Start Green Card Process Before your H1b visa expires
Green Cards

The Road to Green Card Status for Doctors and Scientists

Do you qualify for employment-based eligibility?

Securing a green card is a long and challenging process. Anyone who wants to start the process must first meet a number of conditions before applying. The most important condition is eligibility.

Applicants may be eligible through their family, or as a result of a job offer or current employment. Many physicians and professionals may qualify for employment-based eligibility. Keep in mind, those who apply for an employment-based green card must be sponsored by their employers or future employers and cannot self-sponsor. USCIS has an order of preference for applicants:

First Preference (EB-1 visa) This is for individuals considered priority, which includes anyone with:

  • extraordinary abilities;
  • outstanding educators;
  • researchers.

Physicians and other highly-skilled professionals, depending on specialty, may be able to qualify under this preference.

Second Preference (EB-2 visa) An applicant in this category holds an advanced degree or has an exceptional ability. The person may also file a national interest waiver, which is ideal for doctors and professionals who work or will work in underserved areas.

Third Preference (EB-3 visa) This is for skilled professionals, qualified workers, or any worker who can show they will work in a field where skilled labor is short or nonexistent in the US.

Fourth Preference (EB-4 visa) Applicants in this category are in specialized professions, particularly religious fields.

Fifth Preference (EB-5 visa) This category is for those who are in a position to create employment opportunities for others, such as investors and entrepreneurs who invest a minimum of $1 million (or $500,000 in select high unemployment or rural areas) and create 10 or more jobs for US workers.

Many physicians and highly-skilled professionals may fall into the first two preference categories. If you are eligible, or anticipate eligibility in the near future, or you H-1B visa is nearing expiration, don’t wait to file. We can’t stress enough that obtaining a green card is a lengthy process, therefore you should start at a minimum, two years before the expiration of your H1b visa.

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