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USCIS Expands Green Card Eligibility for STEM Professionals


Employers can now directly sponsor these skilled workers for green cards, skipping the long and complex PERM process.

May 14, 2024


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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy update that clarifies the types of fields that qualify for a streamlined green card process under Schedule A, Group II. This process is designed for individuals with “exceptional ability” in STEM fields, and the recent update broadens the definition of what constitutes a “science or art.”

What’s Changed:

The new definition of “science or art” includes any field where colleges and universities commonly offer degrees. This means a wider range of STEM professionals may now be eligible for the Schedule A process.

Who Qualifies?

  • Exceptional STEM Talent: The same high standards for “exceptional ability” still apply. You must demonstrate international recognition and acclaim in your field.
  • Expanded Fields: Now, individuals with degrees in a wider variety of STEM disciplines may qualify.

Important:

Schedule A, Group II is not a visa type itself. It’s a pathway to a green card (permanent residency) for individuals with exceptional abilities in STEM fields.

Evidence of Exceptional Ability

To prove exceptional ability, you must provide documentation showing that you meet at least two of the following seven criteria:

  1. International Recognition: Awards, prizes, or other forms of recognition from reputable international bodies in your field.
  2. Membership in Elite Organizations: Membership in exclusive professional organizations that require high levels of achievement for admission.
  3. Media Coverage: Articles or features about you or your work in major publications or media outlets.
  4. Judging Expertise: Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others in your field.
  5. Significant Research Contributions: Documentation of your original research that has made a major impact on your field.
  6. Publications: Published articles in top-tier international journals or professional publications.
  7. Exhibitions: Documentation of your work being displayed at exhibitions or showcases in multiple countries.

Benefits of the Schedule A, Group II Process

  • Faster Green Card Process: The Schedule A process is faster and less complex than the traditional PERM process. It allows employers to directly petition for permanent residency (a green card) on behalf of the foreign national.
  • More Opportunities: This update opens the door for more talented individuals to pursue a green card in the United States.
  • No Degree Required: International employees don’t need to have a degree from a U.S. college or university to qualify.

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