Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > Immigration > Does Having A Ph.D. Help You Obtain A Green Card?

Does Having A Ph.D. Help You Obtain A Green Card?


A variety of visas can lead to a green card. No matter the visa that an immigrant wishes to obtain, though, certain requirements must be met and, depending on the visa, a PhD can help them satisfy these requirements.

 What Is A Green Card? 

A green card – also known as a “Permanent Resident Card” – is an identity document that allows an immigrant to live and work in the United States permanently.

Just as an example, if an immigrant possesses a green card, then they can live in the United States and, in turn, work in the United States, without the need to leave at regular intervals.

A wealth of requirements must be met, for an immigrant to obtain a green card. Some of these requirements differ, depending on the path to obtaining a green card that an immigrant wishes to go through.

 Does Having A PhD Help You Obtain A Green Card? 

The answer to the question above is “Yes.” But, this is only if an immigrant chooses to pursue a visa involving their PhD and the skills their Ph.D. has given them. For instance, if an immigrant wishes to marry a United States citizen, then it is unlikely that their Ph.D. will assist them in obtaining a marriage-based green card.

If an immigrant wishes to obtain an employment-based visa, though, their PhD will assist them in obtaining that visa and, in turn, the green card they desire.

The two most notable visas that a Ph.D. will help an immigrant obtain are as follows:

  • The EB-1 Visa.
  • The EB-2 Visa.

Being aware of the requirements for each visa will make it easier for an immigrant to use their Ph.D. to obtain a green card.

Do You Need A PhD To Obtain An EB Visa?

 To obtain an EB-1A visa, an immigrant must:

  • Possess an extraordinary ability.
  • Demonstrate their possession of this extraordinary ability. e.g. evidence of awards, published articles, mentions in the press, leading and critical roles.

One of the ways that an immigrant can demonstrate their possession of this ability is to possess a Ph.D. But, a Ph.D., on its own, will not allow an immigrant to obtain an EB-1A visa; other criteria must be met.

To obtain an EB-1B visa, an immigrant must:

  • Be an outstanding researcher or professor.
  • Possess credentials and experiences that validate their outstanding research/professorship.
  • Have an offer to pursue tenure or a comparable research position at a university, institution of higher employment, or private employer.

Regarding the above, a Ph.D. will help. But, of course, it must be paired with other forms of validation.

To obtain an EB-2 visa, an immigrant must:

  • Possess an advanced degree.
  • Have a job offer that makes use of this advanced degree.

If an immigrant has a PhD, and a job offer, then obtaining an EB-2 visa becomes much easier.

To obtain an EB-2 visa, with a National Interest Waiver, an immigrant must:

  • Possess an advanced degree or exceptional ability.
  • Show that his/her future endeavors warrant waiving a job offer and labor certification because they are in the “national interest”..

Regarding the above, a Ph.D. will help an immigrant obtain an EB-2 visa and, in turn, avoid the labor certification requirement. But, many other forms of validation, regarding an exceptional ability, are required. USCIS values advanced STEM degrees for their potential impact on U.S. competitiveness and security. Evidence must show the endeavor’s substantial merit and national importance. An advanced degree, especially a Ph.D., strengthens the case but isn’t sufficient alone. Ultimately, the petitioner must demonstrate a net benefit to the U.S. to warrant labor certification waiver.

Speak With A Houston Immigration Lawyer Today 

If you possess a PhD, then your chances of obtaining certain immigrant visas becomes much higher. Speak with a Houston immigration lawyer at BBA Immigration today and we will assist you in using your PhD to obtain a green card.





Facebook Twitter LinkedIn