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Green cards for outstanding researchers 


Oftentimes, people are confused as to the different requirements they must satisfy to qualify for either of these two groups. The following is an attempt to make clearer some of the characteristics of each and to clarify their differences. The purpose is to enable the individual to have a better assessment as to which category offers them a better chance for a green card.

With the outstanding researcher or professor category, no degree is required. What is required is international recognition as being "outstanding" in a specific academic area. Furthermore, the individual must have at least 3 years of experience or teaching in that academic area. It is important to note that these three years do not have to be done after the awarding of a degree. The experience can be acquired while one is studying for a degree if the degree is eventually obtained and the individual had total responsibility for the classes taught or it the person conducted research, did so in a manner considered to be "outstanding". Lastly, the individual must be in the U.S. in a tenured or tenure track teaching position or to conduct research.

On the other hand, one of the National Interest Waiver subcategories requires not only a bachelorís degree but also an advanced degree. This advanced degree need not be a Ph.D., a masterís degree will suffice. Additionally, five years of experience could also substitute for the advanced degree. The other subcategories of the NIW are for those with exceptional ability. Regulations explicitly state that such exceptional ability is limited to the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability is characterized by a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in these areas.




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