In today’s competitive global landscape, the United States remains a prime destination for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduates seeking to advance their careers. For these highly skilled professionals, understanding the pathways to permanent residency is crucial. Achieving lawful permanent residence, commonly known as obtaining a Green Card, can ultimately lead to U.S. citizenship. This blog post delves into the various options available to STEM graduates aiming for permanent residency in the United States.

 Understanding the Permanent Residency Process

The journey to becoming a lawful permanent resident involves a series of steps, varying slightly depending on the employment-based immigrant visa classification. Most employers who petition for EB-2 and EB-3 visas must first obtain an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089), also known as a labor certification, from the Department of Labor (DOL). This certification ensures that there are no qualified U.S. workers willing to accept the job and that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Once the labor certification is approved, the petitioner submits it along with an immigrant visa petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The next steps involve either filing an adjustment application with USCIS (if the individual is already in the U.S.) or an immigrant visa application with the Department of State (DOS) if the individual is outside the U.S. or not pursuing adjustment of status.

Key Employment-Based Visa Categories for STEM Graduates

  1. EB-1: Priority Workers

The EB-1 category is for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. This category is particularly beneficial for STEM graduates due to the short or no wait to apply for a green card.

– EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability)**: This subcategory is for individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. No job offer or labor certification is required, and applicants can self-petition.

– EB-1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers)**: This subcategory is for professors and researchers who are internationally recognized as outstanding in their academic field. Applicants must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research and must have a job offer from a U.S. employer. Unlike the EB-2 and EB-3 categories, the EB-1B category does not require a labor certification.

  1. EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 category is for individuals with an advanced degree or exceptional ability in their professional field. It is particularly suitable for STEM graduates with advanced degrees (master’s or higher) or those who can demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. 

– Advanced Degree Professionals: This subcategory requires the job to necessitate an advanced degree and the applicant to possess such a degree.

– Exceptional Ability: Applicants must demonstrate exceptional ability through significant accomplishments and recognition in their field. 

  1. EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

The EB-3 category is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. This category is less stringent in its requirements compared to EB-1 and EB-2, making it a viable option for many STEM graduates. However, there is typically a longer wait time for visa availability, especially for nationals of countries with high demand, such as China and India.

Steps to Secure Permanent Residency

  1. Labor Certification: The first step for EB-2 and EB-3 applicants is to secure labor certification from the DOL.
  2. Immigrant Petition: Once the labor certification is approved, the petitioner files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS.
  3. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Depending on the applicant’s location, they will either file for adjustment of status with USCIS or for consular processing with DOS.
  4. Work Authorization: Applicants can apply for work authorization while their adjustment of status application is pending.

For STEM graduates, the journey to permanent residency in the United States involves navigating through various visa categories and fulfilling specific requirements. Whether opting for the EB-1 for extraordinary individuals, the EB-2 for advanced degree professionals or those with exceptional ability, or the EB-3 for skilled workers, understanding the process and requirements is essential. Each pathway offers unique opportunities, and with careful planning and the right documentation, STEM graduates can successfully achieve their goal of permanent residency in the United States.

By staying informed and prepared, STEM graduates can leverage these immigration pathways to contribute their talents and expertise to the U.S. and ultimately build a future that includes permanent residency and potentially U.S. citizenship.


When applying for a green card for your spouse, demonstrating a bona fide marriage is crucial. The journey starts with filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, simply submitting a marriage certificate is not enough. You must provide comprehensive evidence to prove the authenticity of your marriage. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it.

What is a Bona Fide Marriage?

A bona fide marriage is genuine, meaning each spouse is genuinely in love with the other and intends to stay together forever. This contrasts with a marriage entered into solely for immigration benefits, known as a fraudulent or sham marriage. USCIS is adept at identifying sham marriages, so it’s vital to present compelling evidence that your marriage is genuine.

Key Evidence to Prove a Bona Fide Marriage

  1. Joint Ownership or Lease of Property

Documents to Gather:

  – Lease agreements or mortgages in both spouses’ names.

  – Letters from landlords confirming both spouses live together.

  – Utility bills with both names.

  – Auto registrations showing joint ownership or addresses.

  – Copies of both spouses’ driver’s licenses showing a matching address.

  – Letters from friends and family addressed to either spouse at a shared address.

  – Correspondence between the couple, including postmarked envelopes.

  1. Joint Financial Assets

Documents to Gather:

  – Joint bank statements (checking or savings accounts).

  – Evidence of one spouse making the other a beneficiary on retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k), pension).

  – Statements for joint investment accounts (stocks, mutual funds).

  1. Joint Responsibility for Financial Liabilities and Welfare

Documents to Gather:

  – Joint income tax returns filed with federal, state, or local governments.

  – Credit card statements in both names.

  – Loans or credit lines for major purchases in both names.

  – Evidence of one spouse making the other a beneficiary on life or health insurance.

  – Statements for joint auto, life, home, or renter’s insurance.

  – Letters from employers designating the spouse as an emergency contact.

  – Wills, trusts, or power of attorney documents naming both spouses.

  1. Proof of Raising Children Together

Documents to Gather:

  – Birth certificates of children born to the marriage with both parents’ names.

  – Medical records indicating pregnancy or fertility treatments.

  – Adoption certificates for children adopted together.

  – School or medical records listing the stepparent as an emergency contact.

  1. Proof of Relationship and Shared Activities

Documents to Gather:

  – Evidence of trips taken together, including hotel stays, car rentals, plane tickets, and corresponding passport stamps.

  – Correspondence between spouses, including letters, cards, phone bills, emails, and social media conversations.

  – Receipts for gifts exchanged.

  – Evidence of wedding-related expenses and correspondence with vendors.

  – Photos spanning the relationship, ideally including family and friends.

The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your case will be. For couples who have been married for a longer period, more documentation is expected. Newlyweds or couples living apart might have less evidence but should focus on the most persuasive documents available.

Organizing Evidence

– Provide a representative sample if documents are voluminous.

– Submit a variety of evidence that spans the length of the relationship.

– Organize evidence into categories with a simple cover sheet for each section.

Affidavits for Bona Fide Marriage

Affidavits are letters from third parties (friends, family, religious leaders) providing testimony about the genuineness of your marriage. Each affidavit should include:

– Full name and address of the person making the affidavit.

– Date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit.

– Details explaining how the person knows about your marriage and why they believe it is genuine.

Red Flags for a Fraudulent Marriage

Certain factors may raise suspicion with USCIS, such as:

– Large age disparity.

– Inability to communicate in a common language.

– Significant cultural and ethnic differences.

– Family and friends unaware of the marriage.

– Marriage arranged by a third party.

– Marriage soon after apprehension or deportation notice.

– Discrepancies in statements about common knowledge.

– No cohabitation since marriage.

Preparing for the Green Card Interview

During the green card interview, the immigration officer will ask questions to verify the bona fides of your marriage. Typical questions may include:

– How did you meet?

– Who proposed and how?

– What activities do you enjoy together?

– Details about your wedding day.

– Personal details about your life together.

Removing Conditions on Residence

If your marriage is less than two years old when the green card is granted, you’ll receive a two-year conditional green card. To remove conditions and obtain a 10-year green card, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within the 90-day period before the card expires. This process also requires proof of a bona fide marriage.

Proving a bona fide marriage requires thorough documentation and preparation. By gathering a variety of evidence and organizing it effectively, you can demonstrate the authenticity of your marriage to USCIS and increase your chances of a successful green card application. If you have any doubts or need assistance, consulting an experienced immigration lawyer can provide valuable guidance through this complex process.


USCIS processing times have improved significantly since the depths of the pandemic in 2020 through 2022. However, many case types and many individual cases are taking unexpectedly long for USCIS to make decisions and even to respond to requests for updates or expedites. Sometimes, we cannot get USCIS to speed up its pace without threatening to file, and sometimes actually filing, a federal lawsuit against USCIS. This lawsuit is called a “Writ of Mandamus” and it asks a federal judge to order USCIS to make a decision on a long-pending USCIS case. 

Writ of Mandamus:

Mandamus, derived from Latin, meaning “we command,” is a legal mechanism used to compel an employee, officer, or agency of the United States, such as USCIS, to act. In immigration law, a Writ of Mandamus serves as a tool for applicants to assert their rights and prompt USCIS to make a decision on their case.

Writ of Mandamus in Immigration Cases:

A Writ of Mandamus addresses situations where USCIS has unreasonably delayed a case, preventing an approval or denial of the case. Here at Cambridge Immigration Law we make sure our clients know that we are requesting a decision on a case, not an approval on a case. If a case is weak, filing a writ of mandamus may not be the client’s best strategy. However, there are clients who want any decision, even if there is a good chance there will be a denial. A denial opens the opportunity for an appeal, or for some people, puts closure on their quest for an immigration benefit. 

Requirements for Writ of Mandamus:

Certain requirements must be met for a Writ of Mandamus. We prove that USCIS has a clear duty to decide a case, that USCIS owes that decision to our client, and that there is nothing else that we can do to try to push USCIS to make a decision. Importantly, we must prove that the delay is unreasonable.  

Determining Unreasonable Delay:

The Administrative Procedures Act mandates that agencies like USCIS complete tasks within a reasonable time frame. If an applicant’s case falls outside the standard processing time, filing a Writ of Mandamus may be a viable option to prompt USCIS to render a decision. Often, the mere filing of the lawsuit prompts USCIS to take action on the case. Also, a threat of filing a writ of mandamus often pushes a decision. 

USCIS Mandamus offers a legal avenue for individuals experiencing delays in their immigration cases. Seeking relief through this remedy requires careful consideration of requirements, determination of unreasonable delay, and legal representation to navigate the process effectively. Consult with our experienced team so that we can get a decision for you on your long-pending USCIS case. 


Are you navigating the process of applying for a green card in the United States and wondering about your eligibility to work during this period? The journey to obtaining permanent residency can be complex, especially when it comes to employment authorization. In this detailed guide, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of working legally in the U.S. while your green card application is pending and explore the steps involved in obtaining employment authorization.

Applying for Employment Authorization:

Individuals with a pending green card application can work legally in the U.S. by obtaining employment authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To apply for employment authorization, you’ll need to submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with the required filing fee and supporting documents. These documents typically include a government-issued identity document, passport or travel document, and two passport-style photographs.

Understanding Processing Times:

The processing time for employment authorization varies, but USCIS typically processes these requests before other applications to reduce wait times for applicants. If you’re simultaneously applying for a green card and employment authorization, you may also consider applying for a travel document (Form I-131, known as advance parole) to facilitate travel outside the U.S. while your application is pending.

Receiving Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD):

Upon approval of your employment authorization application, you’ll receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit. This card serves as physical proof of your authorization to work in the U.S. and contains essential information, including your photograph and fingerprint. It’s crucial to present your EAD to potential employers to demonstrate your eligibility for employment.

Renewing Your EAD:

EADs typically remain valid for two years and can be renewed in two-year intervals. To prevent a disruption in your employment authorization, it’s essential to file for renewal within 180 days of the expiration date of your current EAD. USCIS recommends using the USCIS Case Status Online System to track the status of your EAD and ensure timely renewal.

Transitioning After Green Card Approval:

Once your green card application is approved, you’ll no longer need an EAD to work legally in the U.S. As a lawful permanent resident, you’ll have unrestricted authorization to work for any employer in the country. However, it’s crucial to maintain compliance with all applicable immigration laws and regulations throughout the process.

Understanding the Consequences of Unlawful Employment:

Working without proper employment authorization can have serious consequences, including ineligibility for adjustment of status (green card), removal proceedings, and inadmissibility for future entry into the United States. It’s essential to avoid unlawful employment and seek legal guidance to navigate the complexities of immigration law effectively.

Exploring Legal Income Options:

While awaiting employment authorization, individuals can explore passive income opportunities, such as financial investments in savings accounts, stocks, or bonds. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance on lawful income generation and ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations.

Navigating employment authorization while your green card application is pending requires careful attention to detail and adherence to USCIS guidelines. By understanding the application process, processing times, and legal implications of employment authorization, you can navigate this aspect of the immigration journey with confidence. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable support and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

Proving your citizenship: Born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent

Proving your citizenship: Born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent

Typically, when a child is born outside the U.S. to parents who are U.S. citizens, they would file a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). The U.S. Department of State issues CRBAs before a child turns 18 and are proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship. The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) lists the names of the parents with a biological or gestational relationship to the child. It is essential for the parent(s) transmitting U.S. citizenship to have their name(s) documented on the CRBA. In cases where one parent is conferring citizenship while the other is not, the parent granting citizenship may consent to include the other parent’s name on the CRBA.

If your parents did not apply for a CRBA, you have two options for getting your citizenship recognized:

1. Applying for a U.S. passport – if your parent did not register your birth at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you will need:

-Your foreign birth record showing your parents’ names

-Evidence of a parent’s U.S. citizenship

-Your parents’ marriage certificate, if applicable

-A statement from your U.S. citizen parent(s) which lists where and when they lived in the U.S. and abroad before your birth

If your parents were not married at the time of your birth and only your father is a U.S. citizen, then you will need to provide additional evidence that he is your biological father.

2. Applying for a Certificate of Citizenship – Submit Form N-600 to get a Certificate of Citizenship. This document serves as proof that you are a U.S. citizen.

Navigating the complexities of proving citizenship can be daunting, especially if CRBAs were not obtained at birth. However, with the right guidance and support, individuals born outside the U.S. to U.S. citizen parents can successfully establish their citizenship. It’s essential to ensure all necessary documents are gathered and submitted accurately to expedite the process. Additionally, seeking legal assistance can provide invaluable insights into the nuances of citizenship recognition and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Our experienced team at Cambridge Immigration Law is dedicated to assisting clients in navigating the intricacies of citizenship applications and advocating for their rights. We are committed to empowering individuals to assert their U.S. citizenship with confidence and ease.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in proving your U.S. citizenship and securing your legal status in the United States.



Embarking on a journey as an international student in the United States not only involves academic pursuits, but it also opens doors to part-time employment opportunities. It’s crucial to understand the intricacies of your F1 visa to ensure compliance with regulations set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various employment categories available to F1 visa holders, shedding light on both on-campus and off-campus options.

On-Campus Employment: 

Most international students under the F1 visa category have the privilege of engaging in on-campus employment. However, it’s vital to recognize that this category, while more accessible, comes with specific rules and limitations. On-campus employment doesn’t require USCIS approval but is subject to guidelines to maintain F1 status. Students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, with the flexibility of full-time employment during holidays and vacation periods. However, it’s crucial to seek permission from the International Student Office and adhere to the non-displacement rule to ensure responsible employment practices.

To ensure compliance with on-campus employment regulations, students must maintain valid F1 status, seek guidance from the International Student Office, and obtain clearance before applying for or accepting any employment. This collaborative effort between students and their educational institutions ensures a seamless on-campus work experience within the F1 visa framework.

Unlocking Opportunities Beyond Campus: Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

For international students seeking off-campus employment, Optional Practical Training (OPT) becomes a valuable avenue both during and after completing their degree. Governed by USCIS rules, OPT requires prior authorization and collaboration with the International Student Office. Students can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, with the flexibility to work anywhere in the U.S. OPT employment must be directly related to the student’s major, and maintaining lawful F1 status is a prerequisite.

General OPT Requirements:

  • Employment must be directly related to the student’s major.
  • Students must maintain lawful F1 status.
  • Application for OPT must occur before completing all work towards a degree.
  • Full-time OPT is permitted for up to 12 months, with part-time work reducing available full-time OPT.

Navigating OPT involves careful planning, starting early due to USCIS processing times, and close collaboration with the International Student Office. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization, allowing students to gain practical experience in their field of study through internships, co-ops, or other types of work experiences that are directly related to their academic program.

General CPT Requirements:

  • Students must maintain lawful F1 status.
  • Have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (exceptions apply for graduate students whose programs require immediate CPT)
  • The practical training must be an integral part of the established curriculum or directly related to the student’s major field of study.
  • Obtain authorization from the designated school official before starting any CPT employment

Understanding the nuances of both on-campus and off-campus employment options ensures F1 visa students make informed decisions, contributing to a fulfilling academic and professional journey in the United States.



Embarking on the H1B visa journey signifies a pivotal moment for skilled foreign workers and their potential employers. The H1B Lottery, a key initiation administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is the gateway to securing coveted H1B cap-subject visas. These visas offer the prospect of employment in the United States, attracting individuals with specialized skills and expertise. The anticipation builds as the H1B Registration (H1B Lottery) opens its doors on March 6, 2024, at 12 pm, providing aspiring candidates a chance to secure a spot in the annual visa allocation.

Crucial Milestones in the H1B Lottery Journey:

  • March 22, 2024: Last Day to Register
  • March 31, 2024: USCIS Notification of Lottery Winners
  • April 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024: H1B Petition Submission Period
  • October 1, 2024: Authorized Work Commencement for H1B Visa Holders

The urgency is apparent, with March 22, 2024, serving as the final day to register in the H1B lottery. Following this, USCIS will announce the lottery winners by March 31, 2024. The subsequent window, from April 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024, becomes a critical period for selected candidates to submit their H1B petitions, paving the way for potential employment opportunities in the U.S. Starting October 1, 2024, successful H1B visa holders can commence authorized work with their employers.

Understanding the significance of the H1B visa for both individuals and employers, Cambridge Immigration Law stands as a dedicated ally for those navigating this intricate process. Our commitment extends to providing comprehensive support and expert guidance throughout the journey. With an acceptance window for new H1B clients until March 15, 2024, we encourage prospective candidates and employers alike not to miss the chance to secure a spot in the H1B lottery. Contact us today, and let us embark on this transformative journey together.

How long will my H-1B visa be valid, and how long will it take USCIS to approve it?

How long will my H-1B visa be valid?

Your visa will be valid anywhere from one to three years at first, depending on the evidence provided about the position. For example, a software developer could receive a three-year visa, while a physician during residency would only receive a one-year visa.

You can extend your H-1B visa up to six years. There are certain exceptions to the six-year H-1B limit. The most common scenarios are when the foreign national is on the path to permanent residency and has an approved Form I-140 or if the I-140 application was filed at least 365 days before the end of the sixth year or the requested H-1B start date. In these scenarios, the beneficiary’s H-1B status can be extended in one- to three-year increments, indefinitely.


How long will it take for USCIS to approve my H-1B visa?

The processing times for an H-1B visa vary depending on a range of factors, including the volume of visa application, the specific office in which the petition was filed, the strength of your application, whether USCIS requests additional evidence, and whether you apply for premium processing.


If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call (617-744-7919) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

The doctor is NOT your friend. Your I-693 Medical Exam is NOT confidential or privileged.

I-693 Medical Exam: Know the importance of confidentiality and what not to discuss during your USCIS medical exam.When you go to a USCIS-approved doctor for the service of USCIS medical exam, remember that–for the purposes of the USCIS exam–the doctor works for the US government, not for you. Anything that you tell the doctor could be communicated to the US government. The doctor cannot violate medical ethics by communicating information about you to other parties aside from USCIS, but for the purpose of the exam, you are consenting to the doctor sharing all information with USCIS. 

What does this mean? It means that you should NOT ask the doctor questions, such as “I smoked marijuana last year. Is that a problem?” Or, “What do you mean by having a issue that makes me violent? I have had many physical fights with my brother, even this year, is that a problem?” Or, “I’ve never told anyone that I am suicidal. Do I need to tell you?” These are all important issues and questions, but they are issues that you should NOT discuss with the USCIS doctor. Go to another doctor or therapist for a confidential, protected meeting. 

My advice to clients is to review Form I-693 (at this link) before you go to your USCIS medical exam. Get familiar with what you may be asked, and take some time to think about truthful answers that won’t be problematic. If you are worried about ANY issue on Form I-693, speak with your immigration attorney about your questions before you to go the Medical Exam. 

It is important to note that USCIS doctors in the US generally will not share information directly with the USCIS. The doctor will give you the report, and if you decide not to submit it to USCIS, it is very likely that USCIS will never receive it. However, if you are getting a green card through an embassy or consulate outside the US, you will be scheduled for a medical exam with a US government doctor who will directly send the results to the US embassy/consulate. You will have no option to cancel the report–the US government will get it and any information, such as “I smoked marijuana last month” will be used against you. 


If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call (617-744-7919) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Vaccinations — you have to get them unless you qualify for a medical and religious exemption

Learn about vaccinations and medical requirements for the green card application, including exemptions for medical and religious reasons.To get a green card through marriage, you need to undergo a medical exam with a USCIS approved doctor. You can find the doctors using the tool at this website. The doctor will give you a sealed envelope with Form I-693. You should also request an unsealed copy of Form I-693 so that your attorney can review it. 

The medical exam requires you to have certain vaccinations. You can find the vaccination list at this link.  There may be vaccinations that you cannot get right now due to your current age or health reasons. If so, there is no problem, and those would be considered medical waivers to the vaccination requirement. However, if the doctor determines that you need a vaccination and you do not want to take it for a medical reason and the doctor does not agree,  you will have a problem. 

Also, you may not want to get a vaccination for religious reasons. Those waivers are difficult to obtain, and you must show the following:

  • You are opposed to all vaccinations in any form.: This means you are opposed to all vaccinations, not just a specific vaccination such as the flu or COVID vaccinations. You may have received vaccinations as a child, but as long as you have not received any as an adult, you may be able to meet this requirement.  
  • Your objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.: You have to show that you belong to an actual religion that holds an actual opposition to vaccinations. A mere preference of yours won’t cut it. 

The religious belief or moral conviction must be sincere.: Again, you have to show that you are part of a religion that holds this belief. If you just joined the religion recently, you’ll have more difficulty proving that this is a “sincere” religious belief.


If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call (617-744-7919) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.