Green Card Through Self Petition or How to Get a Green Card Without Having a Job Offer
Generally, Green Card applicants have several options to explore:
1. Diversity Visa Lottery (also known as Green Card Lottery or DV Lottery)
2. Green-Card through a job offer
3. Green Card through investment
4. Green Card through family
6. And others
But there is also another way to do it - Green Card through self-petition.
What is that, you are probably asking yourself right now? It is a separate category, that does not require the applicant to have a job offer and/or to be sponsored by a US employer. But it is not that simple either, there are only these 2 categories that qualify to apply for a Green Card through self-petition:
EB1-1 - Individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, (E11). Aliens of outstanding ability are considered to be the best of the best in their field of endeavour and it is an eligibility category that applies to very few individuals. Examples of who may be considered an E11 immigrant include: Nobel Prize, Pulitzer and Oscar winners, notable athletes and Olympic Medal winners, and others who have achieved great successes in their field. Please note that E11 classification is different from O visa.
EB2-1 - Individuals who were granted a National Interest Waiver (NIW), (E21), that are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. National interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.
In order to self-petition, The applicant should continue to work in the same field of extraordinary ability.
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that you are coming to the United States to continue to work in your area of extraordinary ability includes:
Letters from current or prospective employers; Documents evidencing your prearranged commitments (e.g. contracts); A statement detailing your plans on how you intend to continue working in your field in the United States
Extraordinary Ability is the highest-level immigration category and all applicants must submit documents that provide supporting evidence of the accomplishments in the field of endeavor. As proof of accomplishments and professional level, applicants may submit: letters from peers in the field (including independent reference letters) and documentary evidence proving that the applicant is among the top few percent in the field and has achieved sustained national or international acclaim; receipt of prizes or awards for excellence in the field, these must be prizes or awards for which an individual was selected from among his or her peers (Oscar, Nobel, Pulitzer etc), student awards do not hold any weight in this category; membership in associations that require outstanding achievements of their members (professional memberships that require only a degree in the field and payment of dues do not hold any weight in this category), memberships that are selective, such as the National Academy of Sciences, are relevant to this category; published materials about the individual in professional publications or major media; participation as a judge of the work of others, such as requests to peer-review articles for a journal, or to serve on a grant panel; original contributions of major significance to the field; authorship of scholarly articles in the field; display of work at exhibitions/showcases; serving a leading/critical role for distinguished organizations; commanding a high salary (relative to others in the field); commercial success and others as applicable to a particular situation.
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a category where qualifying individuals are waived of the requirement for obtaining a labor certification or in other words sponsorship from a US employer because the individual’s employment in the US would substantially benefit the nation. The NIW eliminates the additional processing time of 6-18 months that is usually standard of employment based categories that require obtaining a labor certification. The application process for EB2-1 is similar to the EB1-1 and it does not require employer sponsorship or a Labor Certification. Many of the same letters and evidence as described above may be used to show that an applicant meets the standard for a NIW.
Eligible applicants for green card through self petition may apply for permanent residency through one of two ways: consular processing (applying while living outside the US) and adjustment of status (applying while living in the US). Here is a preliminary list of documents and forms you should submit to USCIS in order to obtain a Green Card through self-petition:
* Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker;
* Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
* Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record;
* Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (when you have an I-485 permanent residence application pending, you are eligible to receive a work permit);
* Form G-325A, Biographic Information;
* Form I-693, Medical Examination;
* Two color photos taken within 30 days
* Supporting evidence (see above)
* Other documents. Ask us what else you may have to submit with your petition.
Here are some useful tips you might want to take a look at:
* It is common to apply for permanent residence in both categories. There is no regulation that limits the number of different categories in which an applicant may apply.
* The USCIS allows premium processing of EB1-1 I-140 petitions, but has not yet implemented premium processing of NIW petitions.
* Processing times in both categories vary widely. In general, processing over the last several years has been faster in the EB1-1 category than in the NIW category.
* The EB1-1 category is first preference, while the NIW category is second preference. The first preference category has historically retrogressed only in extreme circumstances, while the second preference category is more commonly backlogged (currently for countries China and India).
* In the EB-1-1 category, an applicant may show that he or she has achieved the level of "national acclaim" in his or her home country - if you are from a relatively small country, that may be easier.
So the conclusion is - plan ahead of time and consult an immigration attorney for a qualified advice. If you would like to discuss your options and alternatives with us, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of Natalia Malyshkina at 415-240-0083 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional questions regarding Green Card or other types of visas and cases, please visit www.immigration-business-law.com.
Natalia Malyshkina, ESQ
The Law Office of Natalia Malyshkina