Qualified scientific researchers can apply a green card without regard to the availability of a U.S. worker. Additionally, scientific researchers have the option of “self-filing” for a green card without the need for employer sponsorship.

There are 3 primary categories in which scientific researchers can apply for a green card:

  1. EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Alien
    • Self-filing is permitted.
    • Must establish you are among the small percentage of researchers at the very top of your field.
  2. EB-1B Outstanding Professors and Researchers
    • Requires Employer Sponsorship for a Tenured or Permanent Research Position
    • Must establish you have received international recognition for outstanding research accomplishments.
  3. EB-2 National Interest Waiver
    • Self-filing is permitted.
    • Must establish your research accomplishments have had a degree of influence on your field as a whole above and beyond and the substantial majority of others.

China or India
Foreign nationals from China or India generally file for EB-1A or EB-1B (with EB-2 as a backup) as there is no wait to apply for a green card if a petition is approved in one of these first preference categories. There is a wait of several years for foreign nationals from China or India to apply for a green card if a petition is approved in the EB-2 National Interest Waiver category.

Other Countries
Foreign nationals from every other country generally only self-file in the EB-2 National Interest Waiver category as the legal standard for approval is more favorable than EB-1A or EB-1B and there is no wait to apply for a green card if an EB-2 National Interest Waiver petition is approved for a researcher born anywhere other than China or India.

Marco PignoneKnowledge Base – EB-1 / NIW Knowledge Base