Green Card Strategy For STEM Graduates

For foreign nationals studying science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), the US government prioritizes their employment-based green card strategy for stem graduates applications. But getting there often takes time, as the path to a permanent residency depends on many factors, such as visa availability and employer sponsorship. In this article, we look at some of the options that stem graduates can use to navigate these hurdles.

What is the easiest and fastest way to get a US green card?

After graduating from their programs, many international students take advantage of Optional Practical Training (OPT) to gain work experience in their field of study. Then, when OPT expires or they graduate from their program, they often seek an H-1B temporary skilled work visa to continue working in the United States. But some graduates want to pursue a green card, or legal permanent resident status, rather than stay in an H-1B. That’s because they know that a green card would provide them with long-term stability and allow their spouse and children to eventually become US citizens as well.

Until recently, the best avenue for advanced STEM international graduates to pursue green cards was through self-petitioning under the EB-2 national interest waiver (NIW) classification, with an underlying PERM labor certification application. However, the NIW process has been complicated and slow, and backlogs have become prohibitively long for some foreign nationals. Now, legislative efforts and new policy guidance offer more clarity on how this pathway could be used by STEM graduates. Read on to learn more about this developing issue.