Can I Sponsor Myself for a Green Card?

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Are Self-Petitions for a Green Card Possible?

The journey towards obtaining a United States (US) green card often begins with family-based or employment-based petitions. For many, family-based petitions usually involve getting a green card through marriage or sponsorship from a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

There are several immigration pathways through employment. However, one of the most common ways is securing employment from a US employer. The employer must undergo the labor certification process before sponsoring you for an immigrant visa. This requires them to show that there were no qualified US workers to fill your position.

However, it’s vital to understand that not all green card applications require sponsorship. Different green card categories allow you to self-petition for a green card without sponsorship. It is essential to know if you are eligible for these green card categories or a self-petition before applying. It is therefore important to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Read on to learn about green card self-petitions and how we can help.

Who Qualifies for a Self-Sponsored Green Card?

Notably, there are three primary routes for self-petitioning a green card, each tailored to different qualifications and fields of expertise:

Employment-Based First Preference Category (EB-1A Visa)

This classification is for individuals who possess an extraordinary ability or are internationally recognized professionals in their field. This includes sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.

To be eligible, applicants must provide substantial evidence of their achievements, supported by awards, publications, and notable recognition of their work. Furthermore, the applicant must seek employment within the same field of expertise. Their skills must also add value to the United States.

EB-1A green cards are unique to your case and home country. They do not require an offer of employment or labor certification. If you can satisfy the evidentiary criteria set by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can apply.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

This classification applies to those who qualify for an EB-2 visa. The EB-2 visa requires you to have a job offer from a US employer. The national interest waiver allows you to skip the labor certification process and self-petition for your green card.

To meet the NIW criteria, candidates must demonstrate that waiving the labor certification requirement is in the national economic interest of the United States. This necessitates proving the following elements:

  • Your proposed endeavor has national importance and substantial merit

  • You have obtained an advanced degree from a US institution or its foreign equivalent

  • You can demonstrate exceptional ability in the field of arts, sciences, or business

  • Your employment will provide a substantial benefit to the US.

  • You can excel or advance in your field of expertise or proposed endeavor

Successful NIW applicants will obtain lawful permanent residence (become green card holders) or permanent resident status enabling them to live and work in the US permanently and apply for green cards for their immediate family members. Their green card will have an Alien Registration Number at the back, which is a form of identification.

EB-5 Investor Green Card

The EB-5 investor program allows investors, their spouses, and minor children to attain green card status. To be eligible, prospective investors must invest in a US commercial enterprise to create or preserve the full-time employment of ten qualified US workers. The minimum investment amount in a high-employment area is $1,050,000, while a rural area with high unemployment requires a minimum investment of $800,000.

In addition to the financial aspect, candidates must establish the lawful ownership of their investment capital, proving it wasn’t acquired through unlawful or illegal means. This necessitates providing a comprehensive evidence trail detailing the source of the funds.

Benefits in Self Petitioning for a Green Card?

One of the main advantages of a self-sponsored green card is that you do not need to secure a job offer from a US company. Getting a job in the US may be difficult for several foreign nationals. Many US employers are unwilling to sponsor foreign workers due to the expense and time involved. They often grapple with concerns regarding the long-term commitment of foreign employees.

With a self-petition, you are not required to wait for an approved labor certification. The processing of a labor certification by the Department of Labour (DOL) can be a time-consuming process, often taking several months. By self-petitioning, you can apply for your green card faster.

Are There Alternatives To Self-Petitioning for an Employment-Based Green Card?

While self-petitioning is an attractive option, there are alternative pathways that do not require a sponsor. These options include:

  • Diversity visa lottery: The Diversity visa allows eligible immigrants from certain countries with a low immigration rate to get a green card.

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): A foreign national who is a victim of abuse and is either the spouse or child of a US citizen or LPR may be eligible for a green card under the VAWA.

  • Political asylum: Individuals fearing persecution upon returning to their home country may qualify for a green card under political asylum if they can demonstrate that persecution is likely due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. If asylum is granted, you can apply for a green card.

Get in Touch With Knowledgeable Immigration Attorneys in Houston

When planning to immigrate to the United States, it is essential to consider all your available options. It is equally important to confirm that you are eligible to self-petition for a particular category. Understanding any limitations that may affect your application can prevent delays in the green card process. At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we can help you by:

  • Advising on green card eligibility through different routes

  • Carefully analyze your circumstances

  • Ensuring your green card application complies with the requirements

  • Assisting with filing your green card application

  • Preparing all supporting evidence and immigration paperwork

If you want to sponsor yourself for a green card, consult our immigration attorneys today.