It was at the age of 19 that I had come to the United States.
I was Bachelors in Computer Science and after having come to the US, I figured out how much tuition fee I have to pay for my studies.
It took me 3.5 years and I paid through the entire bachelor’s degree without landing myself in any kind of debt.
After the completion of my degree, I secured for myself a corporate job which included a full-time career in the field of technology and also got my Green Card in the US.
After quite some time of being in the United States, I am an investor in real estate at the moment and also a full-time employee in the corporate sector of America.
A major source of frustration for me is the many misunderstandings that are associated regarding the issue of immigration, green card, visa etc. amongst students.
I reached out to my Raghu and elaborated to him that I wanted to help students facing this dilemma by making some sort of video and writing an article.
He was quite interested in the idea and therefore I am writing this article to explain to others the reason behind my success in the States and how I was able to achieve that.
Before starting my own story and how I was able to achieve success in the States let me clarify to everybody that I am not an attorney.
The rules and regulations regarding visa, green card and immigration change from time to time and a close look must be kept on this. Whatever I am about to write is entirely based on the understanding and knowledge that I have.
8 Myths About Immigration and International Students
There are certain numbers of myths that are associated with students who come to the US.
Before getting into the details let me elaborate on the many myths that surround the prospect of immigration and try to make this article an interesting read. I will get into the details of each of them but before that let’s elaborate on what these myths are.
- We need H1B to apply for Green Card
- There are a very limited number of scholarship in US universities for international students
- It is highly difficult to find a job on campus, assistantship et cetera
- It is ideal to come to the US for studying Masters and because bachelors are supposed to be expensive
- Masters is a 2 Year program while bachelors is a 4-year program
- Some employers if not most will never apply for a Green Card in the early stages of the job
- It is compulsory to graduate and get an OPT in order to start working for any company
- It is only possible to be enrolled at one university at a particular time
My role with this article is to help burst all these myths and help international students have a clear idea about how they can succeed in the US, land themselves a good job, apply for Green Card and create a successful career for themselves.
Myth 1: H1B Visa is Required to Apply for Green Card
This is a very interesting myth.
It goes against my understanding and baffles me to think why everyone mixes H1 with the green card.
H1 and green card are two different things and can be considered as parallel lines that never intersect.
Nowhere has it been written that you would need to have an H1 in order to apply for a Green Card.
Even my own attorney had this confusion telling me that I would not be able to apply for a Green Card and so did my employer.
Personally, I am a person who rarely accepts a no and likes to figure things out for him before getting rejected.
I needed an explanation on this subject and hence tried to figure it out myself. During the initial times when I was applying for H1 visa, it got rejected multiple times and even my visa consultant whom I used to visit a couple of times in a week gave up on me.
He was the only person who was helping me out with my visa when I was in India and he told me that Abdul you are wasting your time trying to get a visa and should rather think about going to college in India because it seems that you wouldn’t be able to get a visa.
After this, I left him and completed the entire process on my own and got my visa approved to come to the US.
It was a month-long process which I had to undertake in order to educate my employer regarding the fact that I could apply for a Green Card on OPT.
After having convinced my employer it took me another month convince my attorney that I was able to apply for a Green Card on OPT.
You might be thinking why I was so excited about a Green Card. The fact is that I am a person who likes to think ahead and I am someone who does not like to take the traditional route and rather opts for something unconventional.
Let me give you some background. I was born in the Gulf. Being born in the gulf does come with its advantages. The priority dates for the Green Card is based on the country of birth, not citizenship.
However, it’s not true that those who have been born in India cannot apply for Green Card on OPT. Anybody and everybody can apply; it’s just that those who were born in India will find the procedure to be longer for them.
The main factors that are looked after while giving you a Green Card include the fact that you are working for someone and have a good status like OPT, CPT, or H1.
There are three steps which are involved in the process of getting your green card. These three steps include PERM, I-140, and I-485.
The processing times for the first two steps are basically the same for everyone. However, the third step is usually faster for those people who were born in the outside of India, China, Mexico and Philippines like Gulf.
However, people who are born in India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines won’t be stopped by the USCIS if they are applying for the Green Card on OPT.
Therefore it is best to apply for a Green Card right away on OPT without waiting a few years to do it. You might say that it takes 8 years to get a Green Card so it is not pragmatic to be applying for it right now.
You might have the thought that you would apply for a Green Card after you get your H1B.
Let me tell you a story.
I have a friend who has been working in the US for the last 6 years. He has applied for his H1 multiple times and it got denied a couple of times and didn’t pick in the lottery a couple of time.
Had he applied for his Green Card 6 years ago he would already have been ahead in the game and even without having gotten his H1B he would have been able to enjoy his Green Card, in next two years which in a way is much better than H1B.
By having applied his priority dates would have been ahead from what they are at this moment. This particular moment he has started his fourth masters in order to maintain his status. He needs to continue studying in order to maintain that status, and he has to go through the rigorous process of doing that.
I also have a lot of Indian friends who were born in Gulf and never knew that they held current priority and could get a Green Card in the span of 1 to 2 years.
Another thing that a lot of people do not know about is cross chargeability (more on that here and here).
If you have PERM and I-140 approved and you are married to a wife who was born outside of India, China, Mexico and Philippines then you can apply the third step I-485 in current priority and get the green card in 1-2 years. Most people think that the only way you can get a Green Card is by marrying a US citizen which is highly incorrect.
So regardless of the situation, I would suggest that you apply for your green card right away and get into the priority line as quick as possible. Another thing if PERM and I-140 have been approved then H1 extensions are longer, and instead of getting a one-year extension you can actually get an extension of 2 to 3 years. You can also have your wife to work on H4-EAD.
A lot of my friends regret not having applied for a Green Card because of the fact that their wives are not able to work. In cases like these, you have to get I-140 approved for your wives as well in order to get EAD.
Now, we have busted the Myth 1 – H1B Visa is required to apply for Green Card!
Next article will be how, funded 70% of my education using scholarships.
Myth 2 – There are a very limited number of scholarship in US universities for international students
Ready to bust the Myth 2?