How to Get a Green Card Through Self Petition

Green Card Through Self Petition

 

As an immigration lawyer for professionals, I often hear the false belief that you need a US company to sponsor you for a green card. While this is true in many cases, there are ways to get a green card through self petition. This means that you can get a green card without a US company sponsoring you and without a US job offer.

 

In this article, I will explain 2 ways to get a green card through self petition: the EB1A visa and the national interest waiver.

 

The EB1A visa is is a visa classification for people with an extraordinary ability in either the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

 

The national interest waiver is for people who can demonstrate that waiving the requirement to have a US company sponsor is in the national interest of the United States.

 

(Both of these visas will be discussed in more detail below).

 

If you have any questions about how to get a green card through self petition, email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I'm very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you with your immigration process.

Overview:

 

1. What is a Green Card Through Self Petition

 

2. What are the Benefits of a Green Card Through Self Petition

 

3. Over view of EB1A Visa

 

4. Overview of National Interest Waiver

 

5. Comparison Between EB1A and National Interest Waiver

 

6. Conclusion

 

1. What is a Green Card Through Self Petition

 

The 2 main branches of immigration to the United States are family-based and employment-based.

 

Examples of family-based immigration include getting a green card based on marrying a US citizen or having an immediate family member who is a US citizen sponsor you for a green card.

 

There are many different types of employment-based immigration. The most common form of employment-based immigration is by getting a job offer from a US company.

 

To sponsor foreign workers for a green card, a US employer must get a Labor Certification through the Department of Labor. Getting an approved Labor Certification requires your employer to show that they were unable to find a qualified US worker to fill the position that they are hiring you for.

 

After getting the approved Labor Certification, your US employer would then file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. Through this process, your employer is the petitioner (person or entity applying for the immigrant visa), and you are the beneficiary (the person benefiting from the immigrant visa petition).

 

There are also ways to get a green card without a US company sponsor. Two of these ways are: (1) the EB1A visa; and (2) the National Interest Waiver.

 

Through both of these options, you do not need a job offer and you do not need a company to file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. Instead, you apply for the immigrant visa on your own behalf.

 

Through this process, you act as both the petitioner (person applying for the immigrant visa) and as the beneficiary (person benefiting from the immigrant visa petition). For this reason, successfully applying for an EB1A visa or for a national interest waiver can be thought of as getting a green card through self petition.

 

2. What are the Benefits of a Green Card Through Self Petition

 

1. You do not need a job offer from a US company

 

  • Many qualified professionals have a lot of difficulty securing a job offer from a US company.

 

  • Many US companies are hesitant to sponsor foreign nationals for a green card based on the time and expense involved in the process as well as the uncertainty that the foreign worker will stay with the company long-term.

 

  • A green card through self petition allows you to avoid the process of getting a US job offer.

 

2. You do not need to wait for an approved Labor Certification

 

  • The process of getting an approved Labor Certification can be time-consuming.

 

  • The Labor Certification is issued by the Department of Labor and the process can take anywhere from 3 to 7 months.

 

  • By apply for a green card through self petition, you can avoid the wait time it takes to get an approved labor certification.
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3. Overview of EB1A Visa

 

What is the EB1A Visa?

 

The EB1A visa is an immigrant visa for people with an extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics.

 

  • Extraordinary ability means “a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” [8 CFR Section 204.5(h)(2)]

 

  • The EB1A visa does not require you to have a job offer in the United States. You can apply for an EB1A visa on your own behalf through self-petition.

 

What are the EB1A Visa Requirements?

 

There are 3 requirements for getting an EB1A visa:

 

1. You must demonstrate that you have an extraordinary ability in a particular field in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics.

 

2. You seek to enter the United States to continue to work in the field of your extraordinary ability.

 

3. Your entry to the United States will substantially benefit the United States.

 

Lets now go through each of these requirements

 

i. Prove that You Have an Extraordinary Ability

 

To prove that you have extraordinary ability, you must show that you have sustained national or international acclaim and that your achievements have been recognized in your field of expertise. [8 CFR Section 204.5(h)(3)]

 

There are 2 ways you can show this:

 

1. Evidence of a one-time achievement of a major internationally recognized award;

 

  • Examples of awards that would meet this criterion are the Nobel Peace Prize, an Academy Award, an Olympic gold medal, etc.

 

2. Or evidence that you satisfy at least 3 of the 10 evidentiary criteria for an EB1A visa (listed below):

 

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in your field of extraordinary ability

 

  • Membership in an association in your field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields

 

  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to your work in the field of extraordinary ability

 

  • Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others in your field of extraordinary ability

 

  • Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, or business-related contributions of major significance to your field

 

  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in your field, in professional major trade publications, or other major media

 

  • Display of your work in your field at artistic exhibitions or showcases

 

  • Evidence that you have performed a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation

 

  • Evidence that you have commanded a high salary/remuneration for services, in relation to others in your field.

 

  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts.

 

Keep in mind:

 

  • The evidence you submit must show that your extraordinary ability has been sustained. This means that your extraordinary ability must have been uninterrupted and ongoing.

 

  • If one of the 10 criteria listed above doesn't apply to your field, you may be able to submit comparable evidence to establish your eligibility for an EB1A visa.

 

USCIS has a 2-step process for determining whether or not to approve your EB1A petition.

 

Step 1. - Evidentiary Threshold

 

  • In step 1, USCIS just reviews your petition to make sure that you have submitted evidence that fulfills at least 3 of 10 categories listed above.

 

  • If you have not fulfilled at least 3 of the 10 categories, then your petition will be denied.

 

Step 2. - Final Merits Determination

 

  • In step 2, USCIS considers the quality of the evidence you submitted, to determine if you meet the definition of extraordinary ability.

 

  • Remember, to get approved for an EB1A visa, you must show that you are 1 of the few at the very top of your field.

 

  • It is in this second step where USCIS is critically analyzing your evidence to see if you are at the top of your field.

 

ii. Continuing to Work in Your Field of Extraordinary Ability

 

  • The second requirement to get an EB1A visa is you must show that upon entry to the United States, you will continue to work in your field of extraordinary ability.

 

  • If you claim to have extraordinary ability in one field and show that you will be working in the United States in a different field, this may result in a denial of your EB1A visa application.

 

Here’s some evidence you can use to show that you will be working in your field of extraordinary ability:

 

  • A statement from a potential employer that you plan to work with;

 

  • A contract for work you will be doing in the United States;

 

  • A signed statement by you, explaining precisely the type of work you plan to do in the United States.

 

iii. Your Entry to the United States will Substantially Benefit the United States

 

  • The final requirement to get an EB1A visa is to show that the United States will substantially benefit from permitting you entry.

 

  • This requirement is generally satisfied, just by showing that you will continue to work in your field of extraordinary ability.

 

  • The evidence you submit to satisfy this requirement can usually be limited to a written statement that your entry to the US will substantially benefit the country.

 

Now that we’ve discussed the EB1A visa, lets look to the National Interest Waiver.

4. Overview of the National Interest Waiver

 

What is the National Interest Waiver?

 

The national interest waiver is an option only available under the EB-2 visa category. This option allows you to waive the labor certification requirement and the requirement that you have a US job offer (which are usually required for an EB-2 visa).

 

  • As discussed above, most employment-based visas require you to have a job offer from a US company. The  US company is also typically required to get an approved Labor Certification before they can hire you.

 

  • With a national interest waiver, you can skip the labor certification process, and apply for a green card yourself, through self petition.

 

  • To get a national interest waiver, you must show that you are qualified for an EB-2 visa and that your services are in the national interest.

 

What are the National Interest Waiver Requirements?

 

To get a national interest waiver, you must meet 4 requirements:

 

  • Qualify for an EB-2 visa

 

  • The specific endeavor you plan to work on must have substantial merit and national importance

 

  • You must be well positioned to advance your proposed endeavor

 

  • You must show that waiving the requirements to have a US job offer and get an approved labor certification are in the national interest of the United States.

 

Now let's go over each of these requirements:

 

i. Qualify for an EB-2 Visa

 

The national interest waiver is an option available to foreign nationals that would otherwise qualify for an EB-2 visa. So, to successfully get a national interest waiver, you must qualify for an EB-2 visa.

 

Two ways to qualify for an EB-2 Visa:

 

  • Advanced Degree Professional

 

  • Exceptional Ability

 

Advanced Degree Professional

 

In order to qualify as an advanced degree professional:

 

  • The field you plan to work in must require an advanced degree

 

  • And you must possess an advanced degree (any academic or professional US degree or foreign equivalent above a baccalaureate degree) or you must have a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field you plan to work in.

 

Exceptional Ability

 

To qualify for EB-2 through exceptional ability, you must satisfy at least 3 of the following criteria:

 

  • You have a degree in your field of exceptional ability

 

  • You have 10 years of full-time experience in your field

 

  • You have a license to practice your profession

 

  • You have commanded a salary/remuneration that demonstrates your exceptional ability

 

  • Membership in professional associations

 

  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.

 

  • Comparable evidence may be submitted if the above categories are inapplicable.

 

In addition to meeting the threshold of qualifying for an EB-2 visa as either an advanced degree professional or through exceptional ability, you must also satisfy 3 additional requirements for the national interest waiver.

 

ii. The specific endeavor you plan to work on must have substantial merit and national importance

 

  • In order to qualify for a national interest waiver, the specific endeavor that you plan to work in must have both substantial merit and national importance.

 

iii. You must be well positioned to advance your proposed endeavor

 

  • Another requirement to get a national interest waiver is that you must show that you are well positioned to be successful in your proposed endeavor.

 

  • This requirement focuses on your ability to contribute to your field.

 

  • To satisfy this requirement, you should provide evidence of your particular knowledge, skills, education, evidence of success in your field, etc.

 

iv. You must show that waiving the requirements to have a US job offer and get an approved labor certification are in the national interest of the United States.

 

  • Another requirement to get a national interest waiver is that you must show that waiving the requirement to have a US job offer and get an approved labor certification are in the national interest.

 

  • Here, the objective is to show that the United States would benefit from waiving the requirements of having a job offer and getting an approved labor certification.

 

  • Some of the ways you can satisfy this requirement are by showing the importance of your field or by showing that there is an urgency so great that there is no time for the labor certification process.

5. Comparison Between EB1A and National Interest Waiver

 

Here are a few things to know about the differences between the EB1A visa and the National Interest Waiver:

 

  • The EB1A visa is eligible for premium processing. This means that for an additional fee of $1,225, USCIS will issue a response to your EB1A application within 15 days. Premium processing is currently not an option for the National Interest Waiver.

 

  • The National Interest Waiver has a visa backlog for citizens of China and India. This means that even after approval of your EB1A application, if you were born in China or India, there will be a substantial wait (following approval of your National Interest Waiver application) before you can get immigration benefits. There is currently no backlog for any countries under the EB1A visa category.

 

  • The EB1A is more difficult standard to meet than the National Interest Waiver.

 

6. Conclusion

 

Many professionals planning to immigrate to the United States are confronted with the problem of not having a US job offer or not being able to find a US company willing to sponsor them for a visa.

 

Fortunately, there are 2 options that allow you to apply for a green card through self petition:

 

  • The EB1A visa

 

  • The National Interest Waiver

 

With both of these options, you do not need a company sponsor and can self petition for your green card.

 

To get an EB1A visa:

 

  • You must have an extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics.

 

  • You must seek to enter the United States to continue working in your field of extraordinary ability.

 

  • Your entry to the United States must substantially benefit the United States.

 

To get approved for a National Interest Waiver:

 

  • You must qualify for an EB-2 visa

 

  • The specific endeavor you plan to work in must have substantial merit and national importance

 

  • You must be well positioned to advance your proposed endeavor

 

  • You must show that waiving the requirements to have a US job offer and get an approved labor certification are in the national interest of the United States.

 

Final Thoughts

 

  • Both of these visa categories are highly complex.

 

  • The decisions on these petitions are also highly discretionary.

 

  • In order to give yourself the best chance of approval, it is critical to work with an experienced immigration lawyer.

 

  • You should not attempt to file one of these petitions on your own, without the help of an immigration lawyer.

 

If you have any questions or need help getting a green card through self petition, email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.comI'm very responsive via email and would be happy to help you.

 

Ashoori Law is a US immigration law firm focused on helping professionals get visas to the United States. Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation.

 

Got a question? Lets talk about it.

 

Resources

 

 

  • Business Immigration: Law & Practice, 2nd Ed. - Vol. 2: Chapter 3

 

 

 

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They've been really helpful. Responded to all my questions and everything went really smooth so far. Strongly recommended!
Amit Patil
14:55 11 Oct 21
I am very happy with the service provided by Ashoori Law firm. I have processed my green card and employment authorization card from Ashoor Law. They are very professional and responsive.Throughout in my green card process Ashoori Law is very... cooperative, knowledgeable and supportive in the process. I really recommend Ashoori Law firm for the immigration law services.read more
Alannah Paul
18:12 10 Oct 21
Great experience with Ashoori Law. Very straight forward process and additional guidance provided when we needed it. Took me 5 months from application to interview for a spousal green card. Very pleased with the service and outcome!
Rijo Joy Kattukaran
16:51 10 Oct 21
My experience so far with Ashoori Law has been awesome. I was in a hurry as it was years of waiting, and then the turn came up quickly, I had to act fast, am very glad I made the decision to choose Ashoori Law. Right from the initial request for a... consultation, the entire team was very responsive, attentive, prompt, detailed oriented. They were very transparent, with their fees (which is very reasonable) and clear. Especially during this pandemic made it as much as they could easier for me through virtual online submissions as much as possible. Ashoori Law exhibited had prepared documentation which was very easy to fill in and complete. Special mention to Lahaina Araneta, who helped me with all my queries and I hardly had to wait more than a day for all those to be answered. Though my journey is still not yet complete, would use Ashoori Law for any of my future needs and also would recommend them for all who is looking for immigration needs. Again a big note of thanks for all your help.read more
ALI ALNASAR
21:26 08 Oct 21
They are quick to respond and answer any questions I have. The staff was friendly, helpful, and easy to understand. This is the most professional office I had dealt with!
Seann Farrell
01:36 08 Oct 21
Citizenship acquired from beginning to end in under 10 months. Professionally prepared paperwork, documentation easy to submit online, very pleased with the outcome. Without the professional services of Ashoori Law there's a good chance delays and... issues could have occurred. I recommend Ashoori if peace of mind is your goal.read more
Juliana Chen
21:30 04 Oct 21
My experience with Ashoori Law was excellent. The teams were very attentive, always there to help with any of my questions. Always quick to respond and deal with any of my concerns. They are very knowledgeable and professional. I couldn’t be more... pleased with the services that they provided to me. I would highly recommend Ashoori Law to anyone with legal needs.read more
amit singh
16:04 04 Oct 21
I had a consultation with Rohit today. He patiently listened to my case and questions and provided satisfactory responses to all. I am happy with the discussion. I may end up taking a paid consultation for more details. I would recommend them to... others as well. Thanks Rohit!read more
Ashish sinha
00:27 02 Oct 21
I reached Michel to get help on i765(L2 EAD) expedite request. He explained me the chances are slim yet filed the request on my behalf.They are just a message away and revert phone calls anytime. They try to explain every bit of your... case.Despite of my expedite request having a low chance of approval, I am glad that my case was picked it's all because Michel and his team prepared my case so well that I got the expedited request approved.I am so happy, kudos to Michel, venshkha, jaser.Ashish Sinharead more
Dina Ibrahem
22:56 01 Oct 21
I've been dealing with them for a year now, they helped me a lot, very professional and friendly! I am always comfortable taking their advices and consult them through my case and they never let me down. and most importantly is that they are very... humble and available literally any time i needed an advice or if I have any concerns.I also LOVE that they email me before any important appointment I would have, making sure that I receive the mails and always sending me soft copies just in case which is GREAT and they constantly keep reminding all the way till my appointment comes. I am still a client with them and very happy, Thanks to Vaneskha Wilson, Jeser Romero, Lahaina Araneta, Milena Manukyan, Elaine Leduna , Karla Samayoa and of course Michael Ashoori.read more
Sach Gill
19:39 30 Sep 21
Had a chat with Rohit Srinivasa. He is informative and possess good knowledge about the immigration related matters. Highly recommended.
Aniruddha Ghosh
16:53 30 Sep 21
Talked to Rohit Srinivasa from Ashoori Law. He is incredibly knowledgable about US immigration laws and is quite freindly. Highly recommended if you are a student on F-1 (OPT, STEM) or are looking to file H-1B.
Kristina Karalic
18:56 29 Sep 21
We accidentally found Ashoori Law online, but we're so happy we did because they have been nothing but outstanding! Ashoori Team has been helping us with multiple cases, including B, L visas and green cards. Their portal is very user friendly, and... their staff is always responsive, caring and detailed. I'd like to give a special shout-out to their Director of Legal Operations, Lahaina Araneta, who has been an absolute delight to work with. I am highly recommending Ashoori Law to anyone seeking immigration services!read more
Zulfa Sultana
18:18 29 Sep 21
I am glad I chose them. Above everything, they are friendly and work closely with you. Owner of the law firm himself is available to talk if needed. Highly recommending them.
Joao Castro
00:31 29 Sep 21
Michael and his team deserve more than a five star rating. I hired Mike already based on a recommendation from a friend of mine, who also requested his services. My friend gave him five star as well, and this could simply not be different.Since my... first contact with Michael, I've perceived his solid ethical principles, responsive professionalism and personal attention to all details in US immigration complex process. In my case, he was key for me to obtain I-131 permits for three Green Cards - and the documents were shipped after just six weeks after the process initiation. In another process, he has been immediately responsive to replace Green Cards. And all my contacts were online - which is a testimony of his great online reputation.If you are looking for US Immigration lawyer assistance for true delivery, great value and avoid risks and potential problems, the answer is Michael Ashoori Law, with his fantastic team, that really and personally takes care of your immigration needs.JCread more
Ahmad Jawid
01:45 28 Sep 21
Ashoori Law, Michael and his team are very professional , helpful and great people for their clients . i am very glad that i had Ashoori Law team for my paperworks . I recommend everyone Ashoori Law especially for Immigration purposes ask for... Michael .read more
Ariel 0054 Realty
01:43 28 Sep 21
Extremely professional teamWithout any doubt, they can handle with knowledge and expertise any caseYou are in good hands with them
Mittal Patel
20:29 27 Sep 21
Have worked with many immigration Lawyers. Ashoori law was very affordable and got back to me in timely manner. Made sure I was on time with my fillings and that we responded to our RFE with adequate info. Lahaina is one of their E2 lawyers and was... expert with these kinds of cases. Will hire them again for renewals.read more
Pragalath Mohandas
20:30 25 Sep 21
Amazing experience. Ashoori Law firm gave me hope and prepared a strong case & I got my E2 case approved in one week. I spoke to other immigration lawyers & i was not satisfied. its easy to communicate with everyone! I highly recommend them to... anyone looking to get immigration help!read more
bhakti savai
12:26 21 Sep 21
I had great experience with Ashoori Law. Professional, knowledgeable, responsive, client-centric, and timely! Highly recommended!
William & Heather Oon
01:17 20 Sep 21
We are grateful and thankful to Ashoori Law and its team. They are very understanding, patient, responsive with all our enquiries and prompt in providing updates to our status. We highly recommended their service.
Kaushik Kuila
19:43 17 Sep 21
I have used Michael Ashoori's Law Firm for my mother's Green Card processing. I have found them very professional and responsive along the way, answering all my queries in a timely manner. I'll readily use them for any immigrations needs in future.
Hyunwook Shin
07:45 10 Sep 21
Michael Ashoori and his firm helped us navigate the complex filing process, answer any questions we have with care, and eventually attain successful approvals. Highly recommended!
Sharon Shanaya
21:53 05 Sep 21
My case was a bit complicated due to my ex-husband and his family but this firm dealt with my I-485 case so nicely and professionally. I was given only 2 weeks to lodge my application due to my messy divorce. This firm made sure my case was filed... before my conditional green card expires. Got my green card in 5 months even during this Covid time when everything takes ages to process. I Will recommend them to anyone who is having difficulty with immigration. Absolutely the best. Don't waste ur time with other attorneys.read more
H. George
02:10 01 Sep 21
Very professional, they have a very good system to prepare your case and make proper follow ups.My case was a little bit complicated and other places they were taking advantage trying to charge me a lots of money but Michael never did... that.Recommending 100% best lawyer ever.read more
Linda Bradley
06:06 25 Aug 21
Very happy with your services 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
jarka sakacova
01:08 24 Jul 21
I have a very pleasant experience with Rohit from Ashoori Law , he was very patient, professional and had a strong knowledge and answered all my questions in detail. I would recommend highly to use Ashoori Law service.
samah elwakkad
15:36 23 Jul 21
I would like to thank Ahoori law office and all the team who was helping us to obtain our L1A approvalThis office Law is truly dedicated to clients, very responsive and professional, they helped me get through so many obstacles.Can't thank them... enough for their effortsIt's really amazing how they guide their clients until they achieve their goals.Thank you Michael for the amazing dedicated team and a special thanks for Lahaina who is really an amazing person and very knowledgeable and really helpful and supportive, also Christina who has helped me a lot through this.You're the best guysKeep it upread more
raechel schofield
22:07 22 Jul 21
Highly recommend Ashoori Law. My adjustment of status was a smooth and easy process. They are always happy to answer any questions you may have along the way.
Kishore Kumar
21:13 22 Jul 21
I highly recommend Michael and his legal team for being thorough professionals. I worked with Lahaina Araneta and Kelly Raposa. Both are so helpful. They made my adjustment of status to register permanent residence a smooth and seamless process. I... definitely recommend their service !read more
Manoj Gunawardena
13:46 22 Jul 21
My experience with Ashoori Law is very good, all of my questions were quickly answered and clearly. The staff was qualified, friendly. Specially I worked with Mr. Rohit Srinivasa . I can highly recommend them.
Mohammad Ahraz Hussain
19:55 20 Jul 21
The whole process of evaluating the case, submission of RFE and then correspondence was extremely well done!
Zed Karkar
15:06 20 Jul 21
A Very helpful and professional law firm. helped us out with our application.
Inger Nicolaisen
14:57 15 Jul 21
Michael Ashoori’s professionalism and expertise is unmatched in the industry! My experience with Ashoori Law is very positive, all of my questions were quickly answered making my adjustment of status a very smooth process. The staff was... unbelievably friendly and ensured the best amount of care was taken with my case! I can’t recommend them enough!!read more
Sadaf Nadeem
00:42 09 Jul 21
I highly recommend Micheal and his legal team for being thorough professionals. Their knowledge and expertise are second to none and their work ethic is unmatched.
kvshirazi
18:28 08 Jul 21
I had a great experience with Ashoori Law. Lahaina, Michael and Ehsan helped me to get my TN visa approved in no time.Lahaina is very responsive. Being able to reach out and talk to your lawyer/attorney is exactly what you need when you apply for... your visa...I definitely recommend them for any immigration services.read more
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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.