Dear Sophie: Questions about green cards and EB-2 priority dates

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

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Dear Sophie,

I’ve been on an H-1B since 2011. I have an EB-2 I-140 approved with a priority date in April 2015. I’m Indian by birth, so I know I’m going to be waiting a long time to get a green card.

As an experienced cybersecurity professional, I think I could qualify to apply for an EB-2 NIW.  Will there be any benefit from applying for an EB-2 NIW now?

— Idealistic from India

Dear Idealistic,

Thanks for reaching out and for your patience with the U.S. immigration system!

The green card line for the EB-2 green card category for individuals born in India has made significant advancements in the past few months. In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that it will likely use all of the available employment-based green cards for the fiscal year 2022, which ends on September 30, 2022. That could mean continued advancements in the EB-2 category!

The latest Visa Bulletin shows that individuals born in India can file their immigrant visa applications for an EB-2 green card at a U.S. Consulate abroad if their priority date is on or before January 1, 2015. For domestically-filed green cards, USCIS announced that for employment-based filings, I-485s can be filed based on the same priority date listed in the “Final Action Dates Chart” in the Visa Bulletin, so it’s the same: January 1, 2015 as well. You’re so close!

However, since you already have the EB-2 NIW priority date, assuming the I-140 got approved or an offer that is still valid (likely at your current employer), you would not gain any advantage by applying for an EB-2 NIW at this point.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Here’s why:

  • You’re nearing the front of the green card line anyway.
  • The EB-2 and EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green cards are in the same second preference category, and have the same cut-off date.