There are two ways to become a green card holder in the United States. With a few exceptions, you can get either a family-based or an employment-based green card. Each year, thousands of foreigners become legitimate permanent residents of the United States through these two main channels.
However, for most of the available green card categories, the requirement that you have a sponsorship relative or job offer from a US-based employer or organization must be met. Fortunately, for those who don’t have either requirement, there are categories that allow people to petition for their green card themselves without sponsorship.
Green card categories without sponsorship
You can sponsor your green card application yourself with the following immigration visa categories:
EB-1A Green Card
The EB-1A, also known as the first preference level for employment-related green cards, is an entry visa classification for people with exceptional professional achievements. It covers a wide range of human activities, including science, art, business, education and athletics.
To qualify, you must demonstrate that you have achievements that are not normally achieved in your field. You must also demonstrate that your skills benefit the United States by demonstrating that you plan to continue working in the same field after your visa is issued.
Applicants who apply for a Green Card for the EB-1A must demonstrate that they have provided significant benefits and contributions that comply with national or international standards and have been duly recognized by other experts in their field. This must be proven by means of verification criteria.
EB-1A Evidentiary Criteria
If you have received a major, internationally recognized award, such as an Oscar, Olympic medal or Pulitzer Prize, this may be sufficient evidence of exceptional performance. In the absence of such an award, the USCIS has defined ten additional criteria, of which each applicant must meet three:
- Documentation of less internationally or nationally recognized prices or awards for outstanding achievements in this field
- Documentation of your membership in a renowned association in the field. Membership in such an association must require outstanding membership services and must be granted by recognized experts in the field.
- Published material in important media or specialist publications that covers your work on site. The publication must contain the date, title and name of the author.
- Proof that you have assessed the work of others in the field, either as a member of a jury or individually
- Proof that you have written scientific articles in your areas of expertise. These articles must be published in major trade journals.
- Proof of your original significant scientific, sporting, artistic or business contributions in the field
- Proof that your work in the field has been shown in large art windows or exhibitions
- Proof that you have played an important or leading role in reputable organizations in your field
- Proof that you are getting a high salary compared to other professionals in the field
- Proof of your media success in the performing arts
EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa
A renunciation of national interests is an exclusive option in the category of employment-related green cards with the second preference. The EB-2, like most other work visas, normally requires a job offer from a US-based employer.
The employer must also obtain a certificate of employment before he can process and post an employee’s immigration application. However, with a NAV, you can apply for the EB-2 Green Card by sponsoring your petition yourself and skipping the job certification process.
Requirements for receiving the EB-2 waiver
To qualify for a waiver of national interests, you must demonstrate that you have exceptional skills and that your employment in the United States would be beneficial to the country.
Your application must be submitted with evidence that can help convince USCIS that it is in the United States’ interest to waive the otherwise mandatory PERM work certificate and job vacancy requirements that apply to you. You also need to show that you are the best person to do your job in the United States.
Apart from that, you must meet at least three of the following criteria:
- Submit an official academic record showing that you have a degree, certificate, diploma, or other recognized qualification from a higher education institution. The qualification must relate to your area of expertise.
- Letters showing that you have at least ten years of full-time experience in this area
- A license or certificate for the lawful pursuit of the profession
- Proof that you have a high salary compared to others in the same profession.
- Proof that you are a member of a professional association in your area
- Recognition from government agencies, colleagues, experts or business associations as proof of your contributions and achievements in the industry or in the profession
- If the above criteria are not readily available in your case, you can provide comparable evidence with the help of a lawyer.
How to sponsor the Green Cards EB-1A and EB-2 NIW yourself
EB-1A and EB-2 NAV have the same general application steps. If you are sure that you have qualified for one of the categories, the next step is to collect your credentials and apply using the following steps:
Submit an I-140
The I-140, Immigration Request for Foreign Workers is the official immigration form to apply for a work-related green card from USCIS. It must be submitted with the above-mentioned evidence, which applies in individual cases. The processing time for adjusting the status of an application varies greatly between applicants because the priority dates are different. Once your petition has been approved, proceed to the next step.
Submit I-485: If you are in the United States
If you are on a non-immigration visa at the time of your I-140 approval in the United States, you have the option to submit an I-485 to switch from your current status to a permanent residence status. Once USCIS has approved your I-485, you will officially become a legal permanent residence in the United States.
Consular processing: If you are outside the United States
If you are outside the United States, you must undergo consular processing. Once your I-140 is approved, USCIS will forward your case to a US embassy or consulate in your country of residence. The consular processing includes interviews with Green Visa and the verification of your eligibility. After a successful visa interview, you will receive an entry stamp on your passport. This way, you can travel to the United States and your physical green card will be sent to your U.S. address within three to four weeks of your arrival.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Green Card
The EB-5 Visa Classification is another green card option that you can sponsor yourself. The program was launched in 1990 by Congress to boost the country’s economy. It has helped many foreigners who are willing and able to invest in the United States’ economy. Up to 10,000 EB-5 visas are issued to applicants from different countries each year.
The minimum required capital for EB-5 is $ 900,000 for a target employment (TEA) investment and $ 1.8 million for a high employment area. The main requirement is that capital create or maintain at least ten jobs in the United States. All EB-5 capital must be invested in a trading company. A trading company can be one of the following:
- one-man business
- Limited liability or partnership
- Joint ventures
- holding company
- business confidence
- Or another legal entity that can be privately or publicly owned
EB-5 green card process
There are five main steps to obtaining a US green card through the EB-5 program.
Find an EB-5 company
The very first step is to find a project that best suits your investment needs and preferences. This can be an existing company, start a new company, or invest in any company that creates or maintains jobs in the United States.
Prepare your business plan
The EB-5 business plan is one of the most important pieces of evidence of your willingness to USCIS. An EB-5 business plan differs from other business plans and is best created by a professional business planner. It must carefully highlight the key features of the company you want to invest in and how it would meet all of the program’s requirements.
Invest the capital and submit an I-526
After identifying a project and planning your business strategy, the next thing you need to do is invest your capital. The EB-5 investment amount is often transferred to a trust account in the initial phase. Once this is done, your immigration attorney will help you submit one I-526, Alien Investor’s Immigration Request, The form must be submitted along with other evidence, including the business plan. Once a decision has been made on your petition, USCIS will notify you.
Conditional permanent residence for two years
If I-526 is approved, qualified EB-5 visa applicants will be issued a conditional green card that will be reviewed after two years. You must put your capital at risk by investing within the two-year period. Your capital may be in the form of cash, cash equivalent, inventory, or debt from assets that you own and must be lawfully acquired. The investment must create full-time positions for at least ten qualified employees.
Get your unconditional green card
Submit two years after the conditional permanent residence I-829, Investor’s application to lift the terms, This petition must be submitted with evidence that your investment has met all EB-5 requirements within the two years. An approved I-829 petition means that the conditions for your status will be removed and you will receive an unconditional green card that will allow you to live permanently in the United States.
Green Card through Diversity Visa Program
The Diversity Visa program is another way to get a green card without sponsorship. Annually, 50,000 randomly selected people from all countries who have low immigration rates to the United States are selected. The lottery program can be requested on the State Department website from early October to early November. If you are one of the selected winners, you do not need an employer to sponsor your green card.
Green card processing through diversity visas
The process depends on your location. If you are outside of the United States, you must submit a DS-260 through the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country of residence. If you are in the United States, you must submit an I-485 to change your current status and obtain a legal permanent residence. Note that the lottery success rate can be low as many applicants compete for the limited number of visas.
Advantages of the green card for petitions
The ability to submit your own green card petition is a rare advantage in the immigration world. You do not need a family member or organization to have permanent residence. Another advantage is the time saved. For example, most other employment-related green card classifications include a work certificate, which is another strict process.
Fortunately, neither of the above categories require a work certificate, so you have one step less time in the green card process. If you have a legal permanent residence, you can also sponsor green card applications for your immediate family members.
How our immigration lawyers can help
Applying for a green card must be done with extreme caution and care. The possibility of circumventing the requirements for work certificates and job offers will subject your petition to a closer examination. For this reason, you need an immigration lawyer who will assist you in processing your application.
Here at Immi-USA, we have experienced green card lawyers with extensive experience who support individuals in applying for various categories of immigration visas. We have successfully supported many applicants in processing and acquiring their green cards without sponsorship. We support you in the preparation of your petition and the creation of supporting documents, as well as legal representation, which significantly increases your chances of admission. You can arrange a consultation today with one of our Green Card lawyers by filling out this consultation form.
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