Soviet Scientist Interim Regulation Released

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an interim rule on April 25, 2005 that reinstates authorization for the issuance of employment-based immigrant visas to scientists and engineers from the Commonwealth of Independent States of the Former Soviet Union and the Baltic States. The interim rule will be effective on May 25, 2005. Since it is an interim rule, the USCIS will accept comments on the rule until June 24, 2005.

Extension of Time and Increase of Limit

The interim rule extends the deadline for the program to September 30, 2006, and increases the number of total immigrant visas available from 750 to 950. Derivatives are not counted against the 950 limit. Persons who have already obtained lawful permanent resident status are excluded from this program. Once the deadline or the numerical limit has been reached, the USCIS will not process any additional petitions. If a petition is filed after September 30, 2006 or after the 950 limit has been reached, the petition will be rejected and the fee will be refunded.

Need Proof of Nationality

The Soviet scientist must provide evidence that s/he is from one of the following countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan. Proof may include identifying pages from a passport issued by the former Soviet Union or by one of the independent Baltic States.

Need Letter from Bureau of Nonproliferation

The rule requires the applicant to submit a statement, signed by the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Bureau of Nonproliferation, that attests to the scientist’s qualifications or expertise in nuclear, chemical, biological, or other high-technology field or verifying the scientist’s work on high-technology defense projects in the design, development, or production of ballistic missiles, nuclear, biological, chemical, or other high-technology weapons of mass destruction. If the Bureau provides the letter, it will establish that the Soviet scientist possesses exceptional ability in the relevant field.

Use Form I-140 for these Filings

To apply for a Soviet Scientist employment-based green card, the Soviet scientist must use the Form I-140. A Soviet scientist may self-petition or a petitioner may file on behalf of a Soviet scientist. To ensure that the Soviet Scientist petition is properly classified, the petitioner should write “Soviet Scientist” in Part 2 of the I-140 form and check “option d,” indicating that s/he is a member of the professions with an advanced degree or a person of exceptional ability. The I-140 should be filed with the USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over the state where the Soviet scientist lives. The priority date will be the day that the I-140 petition is accepted for processing by the USCIS Service Center.


This benefit for Soviet scientists will be available for a limited time for a limited number of qualified scientists. Therefore, anyone who may qualify under the Soviet Scientist interim rule should begin filing as soon as possible to avoid missing this window of opportunity. This category is supposed to create a win-win situation for the individuals concerned, who are of exceptional ability, and in the national interest of the United States by bringing exceptional scientists to work within the government or the private sector on important projects.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.