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This website describes my personal story of immigration and includes my general discussion of the US immigration laws and practices. All information on this website is general information and do not constitute legal advice. I am not a lawyer and I am not affiliated with the USCIS or any other government agency. I do not give legal advice or guarantee the approval of your petition. Please consult a licensed immigration lawyer about your specific situation and circumstances.

Please check the correctness and relevance of all information on this website before taking any action. You are free to share it in any way possible, just please add the appropriate disclaimers that it is not legal advice.

Andrey Solovyev, 1 July 2018.

My story

My name is Andrey Solovyev. I studied chemistry in St. Petersburg State University, Russia in 2002-2007, and I got my PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh (2007-2012). Then I worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the F-1 OPT immigration status (practical training after getting a degree from a US university).

In summer 2012, I filed the I-140 petition under the EB1-A category as a person with extraordinary abilities in Organometallic Chemistry. I prepared it myself without help of a lawyer, and it took about a month to write the text and collect all supporting documents. I requested the premium processing (Form I-907), and my petition was approved in one week. Then I filed Form I-485 to adjust my status of non-immigrant F-1 OPT to legal permanent resident. I received my green card (I-551) in Nov. 2012. I became the naturalized US citizen in Feb 2018: 5 years and 3 months after getting the green card.

My brother got his green card under the same EB-1A category in Jun 2015. He has PhD in Mathematics and worked as a postdoc in Computer Sciences at the University of Utah at that time. Now we work together as independent software developers of educational mobile applications: iOS; Android.

My brother also prepared his immigration petition himself. And I want to share our experience of successful self-petitioning for green card with other people by telling our story and offering an example of the I-140 petition. In last 5 years, I sent an example of EB-1A petition to more than 250 people who contacted me by e-mail. At least 34 persons wrote me later that they self-petitioned and received approval under EB-1A or EB2-NIW categories. Most of them were also Russian-speaking scientists who already worked as postdocs in the United States. These stories inspired me to create this website where I can openly share my examples of the I-140 petition and my general observations about the US immigration laws and practices that I made during my personal immigration journey and from the conversations with other people.

I concluded that if there are no special circumstances, a successful scientist working in the United States in a legal non-immigrant status (F-1 OPT, J-1, H1B, O-1) can apply for and get the green card without help of an immigration attorney.

My Immigration Timeline:

I want to emphasize that waiting times were much shorter in 2012 than they are now. In 2018, people waited for at least 4 months to get the EAD. The approval of I-140 without premium processing or the issue of a green card after filing I-485 took many months, often longer than a year. No one can predict future processing times, so plan accordingly. Until 2017, personal interviews with the USCIS officer were usually waived for EB applicants, but they are required now.