The following information is for researchers at Yale who may qualify for self-sponsored (not Yale sponsored) Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) status based on their academic achievements. The two most typical self-sponsored LPR categories used by Yale researchers are listed below. Researchers and faculty members interested in what is called employment based LPR (such as Outstanding Professor/ Researcher EB-1 or Labor Certification) may not self-sponsor or use an outside lawyer without prior consent from OISS.
“Self-sponsored” means the application does not need to be approved or prepared by your employer. Although not recommended, it is also possible to prepare your own materials, and send the application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) completely on your own. The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at Yale recommends using a qualified immigration attorney for any self-sponsored LPR application. Be aware that there are many fraudulent internet sites that advertise help with these applications. Always cross reference with the information found on the USCIS website. Finally even though OISS will not be the LPR sponsor, please inform your advisor in OISS of your plans to apply for a self-sponsored green card since we need to coordinate your current visa status with your LPR application.
There are two self-sponsored LPR categories many Yale employees have succeeded with; EB-1 Extraordinary Ability, and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW.) Unfortunately OISS staff cannot advise on any aspect of self-sponsored LPR applications. However we invite some of the best immigration attorneys in the field to campus every year to give information sessions about these LPR categories. Please check with OISS to learn when the next session will be.
The most common self-petition category is the NIW. There are several sub-categories of the NIW (e.g. bench research based, physician work in underserved area, etc…) Unlike the Yale sponsored EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher, the NIW does not require international recognition, and it can be just national in scope. To qualify for this category you need to be able to prove the national impact of your achievements, that these achievements are in the national interest, that your work is substantially better than the work of your peers, and that your field of research has “substantial intrinsic merit.” For details contact an immigration attorney, attend an information session at OISS and/or review the information on the USCIS website.
Although the Extraordinary Ability category is the highest of the employment based group, it is not always the most difficult. At Yale there have been many postdoctoral associates over the years who have succeeded with this category working with an immigration attorney. Just like with the Yale sponsored EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher, there is a list of achievement types and you must be able to demonstrate that you meet the standards of three. For details contact an immigration attorney, attend an information session at OISS and/or review the information on the USCIS website.