Immigration: Obtaining Permanent Residence "Green Card" Without a Family Member or an Employer

This month we have received a number of questions about obtaining permanent residence “green card’ without an employer or a spouse. It appears that a large number of individuals are now becoming more interested in submitting a self-petition for their permanent residence without involving a spouse or having to find an employer. The self-petition permanent residence “green card’ application is a wonderful way to secure permanent immigration status while avoiding  the hassles and complications that may arise with proceeding through a family member or employer. However, the option of submitting a self-petition for permanent residence is open only to select few individuals. This month I will answer the most frequently asked questions about this process.

Question 1:  Since I have a doctoral degree can I submit my own application for permanent residence without an employer or family member?
Answer:  Individuals who qualify to submit their own application are considered to be in the First Preference Immigration Petition (EB-1). This category is reserved for those who are among the most able and accomplished in their respective fields within the arts, sciences, education, business, or sports. There are three (3) types of EB-1 petitions: Alien of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher/Outstanding Professor, and Managers and Executive Transferees. However, in this article we will focus on Aliens of Extraordinary Ability since these individuals do not need to have an employer to petition for their green card.

Question 2: How do I determine if I qualify as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability”?
In order to qualify you must show that you have obtained national or international recognition for your achievement. You must also show that you wish to enter the United States to continue to work in your field of work which is the subject of your recognition. Finally you must show how your activity will benefit the United States. If you have questions about these three requirements you may contact us at your convenience.

Question 3: What is the processing time for this application process?
: The processing time on these applications vary depending on the caseload of Immigration. However, with this petition some individuals are able to receive expedited processing which will drastically shorten the processing time.

Question 4: What is the benefit of using this process to obtain my permanent residence  “green card”?
The most notable advantage for those who qualify for an EB-1 petition is there is no need to submit a Labor Certification Application with the Department of Labor. Obtaining a Labor Certification is a time-consuming and expensive process that seeks to determine whether sufficient able, willing, and qualified U.S. worker are available to fill the position sought by you the applicant. In addition to the time and expense of the Labor Certification process, you  risk being denied a Labor Certification if any U.S. workers with the minimum technical qualifications for the employment is found.  With an  EB-1 petition Labor Certification is not required at all. In an EB-1A petition, a permanent job offer is not required, and you may petition for immigration benefits by yourself. Another advantage is that visa numbers are almost always current for the EB-1 category. This means that you will not have to wait for visa numbers to become available before applying for and receiving your permanent residence “green card.”

If you are interested in learning more about this process send us a copy of your resume for a free evaluation to [email protected]

Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of common immigration questions. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars ([email protected]) is the founder and senior partner of the Law Office of Safiya Byars. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. Attorney Byars’ firm works exclusively with couples, families, and individuals to create a clear path to their permanent residence “green card” by teaching them the best ways to get an approval while reducing their processing times and in some cases their immigration fees.  Her office is located at 160 Clairemont Avenue, Ste. 200, Decatur, Georgia 30030. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 404-992-6506/678-954-5809 or via email at: [email protected],