EB2 NIW Success Story: Azeez, a civil engineering PhD student

Azeez success story EB2 NIW civil engineer

Azzez’s story is one of a Do-It-Yourself man. He clearly has no fear about taking his matters into his own hands. And he did exactly that with his immigration future, when he decided to apply for an EB2 NIW green card all by himself. 

He used online resources, such as the USCIS website and my YouTube channel, to educate himself about this process. Then he put together his own petition and succeeded. And all of this while he works on his doctoral dissertation! 

As usual with these stories, I do not know Azeez. He emailed me (see below) to tell me about his case and to share his story with all of you. If you are in a similar situation, you can email me at oscar (at) eb2niw.info.

The email I received from Azeez volunteering to share his story

Azeez’s background – a Civil Engineer pursuing a PhD

Azeez is originally from Nigeria, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering. He worked for 2 and a half years. Then, seeking new opportunities, particularly in higher education, he moved to the US. In 2019 he started his MS in Civil Engineering the States. After completing his masters, he moved to a different University to pursue his PhD. He started his doctoral studies in 2021, so he is currently two years in.

Azeez Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to EB2 NIW

In 2020 Azeez first heard about this type of permanent residency status that allows you to self petition. Until then, he had only heard about marriage-based green cards, or visas such as the popular H-1B option for foreign skilled workers. It wasn’t until last year, 2022, when he found my YouTube channel, and with that, other channels and most especially, the USCIS resources, he decided to be serious about his green card petition. He contacted lawyers but they declined to take his case. Azeez did not let these responses demotivate him and he continued his path as a DIY applicant. Time proved him right! He downloaded my very own I-140 petition from this website to help him understand how to craft a successful application for his case.


Be as prepared as Azeez: enroll in my course

If you need step-by-step guidance, I will provide a series of video lessons that cover how to qualify for the 3 prongs, how to write a solid cover letter, recommendation letters, professional plan, how to fill out forms... And you will get my own successful I-140 petition and adjustment of status package!

Azeez’s strategy for the EB-2 NIW petition

General EB-2 requirement

Azeez holds a Master degree in Civil Engineering so he qualifies as a professional holding an Advanced Degree. If he didn’t qualify he would be forced to use the Exceptional Ability route instead.

Prong #1: The proposed endeavor has Substantial Merit and National Importance

Azeez’s research focuses on improving transportation infrastructure in America, which is tightly linked to the US economy because of movement of people and freights, and also to national safety.
To argue his case and provide evidence of the national improtance of his endeavor, Azeez used official government documents such as White House or Congress publications. In my conversation with him he specifically mentioned the bipartisan infrastructure bill from 2021, and a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Prong #2: Well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor

For this prong, Azeez used different types of evidence, among which 3 out of 5 criteria for exceptional ability.
  • Awards, scholarships, certifications. 
  • Four scientific publications. He mentioned they were not so well cited but he could argue that the reason was how recent they were.
  • Letters of recommendation. He had 3 independent letters and 5 subjective letters.

His timeline for EB-2 NIW

Below are key dates on his success story case:
  • I-140 filing date (without premium processing): November 2022 (priority date of December 2)
  • I-140 approval date: mid February, 2023
To summarize, Azeez received approval for his I-140 in approximately 2 months and a half without using Premium Processing.

Next step: adjustment of status

Azeez received a priority date of December 2. This is unfortunate because the Visa Bulletin has been frozen since then until the time of writing this post (March 2023). Once his date becomes current, he will be able to file his petition to adjust status with USCIS and finish the process. In Azeez’s particular case, this is not the end of the world, because he has a valid J visa to continue his doctoral studies.

Azeez’s advice to others

During my chat with Azeez he provided incredibly helpful advice to other DIY petitioners:

  1. Take advantage of online resources. Right now there is a lot of information about this green card category, and you can leverage all that knowledge to your case’s advantage!
  2. Do not believe all the myths about EB2 NIW, like needing one hundred publications or five hundred citations.
  3. It takes time and effort to put together a successful EB2 NIW application. It took Azeez 3 months of actively working on his petition.

Watch this success story in video format

2 thoughts on “EB2 NIW Success Story: Azeez, a civil engineering PhD student”

  1. Hello, Oscar,
    I wanted to express my gratitude to you. For the skills you provided me through your YouTube channel and your downloadable full petition. It took me 3 weeks to prepare my petition, and only 7 days to get an approval notice. One of the fastest case process in the EB-2 history.

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