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Fresh H1B aftere PhD

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Dear Experts,

I'm currently a PhD (Mathematics) student graduating in August this year (in two months!). I was on an H1B visa from Oct 2006 til Sept 2011 after using OPT from my masters from Feb 2006 til Oct 2006. In Aug 2011 I transferred to F1 to start my PhD.

I understand I'm eligible for a new OPT period of 1+2 years. Appreciate your feedback to my questions -

1. Since I have not used my entire 6 years of my old H1B, can I transfer back to it without going through the lottery? This would mean that I transfer to my old H1b after exhausting my new OPT (ie., for example, after 3 years) to use my unused one and half years (including my vacation time out of US). In this case, my future employer must file for a Green Card within 6 six months after I transfer back to my old H1b. Is that correct?

2. Am I eligible for a fresh H1B? Will it be lottery then?

3. Suppose I start working on OPT, can my future employer apply for a Green Card while I am on OPT?

4. My own sister is a US citizen. Would it be a viable option if she applied for a Green Card for me?

5. I have a few publications (3 peer-reviewed and a few conferences) in my field. Is applying for a Green Card myself a viable option at this stage?

Thanks very much for your time.


Edited by ismart

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Generally, reusing an H1 is only possible if the person was in H1 status in the last 6 years.

A GC through a sibling takes 12+ years (see the VIsa Bulletin, Family category 4.)

As for a GC in EB2-NIW or EB1, first, conference papers are also peer-reviewed. Scientific papers that are not peer-reviewed are not scientific papers. You should discuss your situation with a good immigration lawyer experienced in these kinds of applications, to see if you would qualify. Generally, people with PhDs who proceed to tenure-track faculty positions shouldn't have any problems with that. Going to industry is always a bit more tricky, but math PhDs nowadays are really in demand, e.g., as data scientists for big data stuff, so it should not be too hard there, either.

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Thanks for your comments.

Assuming I am able to find an employer who is willing to apply for a transfer to my old H1 (since I seem to have time until Sept. this year), which of the two options do you think would enable me to continue working without having me leaving the US:

1. Go back to my old H1 and either have my employer file for a green card soon or self-apply under NIW (assuming I meet the criteria).

2. Start working on OPT and apply for a green card (either EB1 or NIW) after an year or so after I get OPT extension.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback...helps in approaching a lawyer in a more focused manner.

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