Self- petitioning to acquire a green card is still considered by many people the easiest way to obtain a permanent residency status in the US. However, many immigrants applying for work permits tend to get mislead about what this process entails or what the requirements are. Sadly, if you are not working with the right work permit lawyer and you are getting your information from a less reliable source, inappropriate application might result in an NOID (notice of intents to deny) issued by the USCIS and subsequently you could be placed in the immigration removal proceedings program.
When can a foreign national take advantage of self- petitioning?
The self-petitioning process implies that an US sponsor is not required for you to receive permanent residency. It only applies to several categories of individuals: the extraordinary workers, the national interest waivers and religious workers. There are other categories (such as victim or crime or special juvenile visa) that are related more to special circumstances an individual may find himself into. But the three categories above are the ones based on an individual’s occupation and his possible contribution to the national interest.
How to know if you are eligible?
The first and most important thing to do is consult with your work permit lawyer and find out if your particular experience enables you to apply. The greatest advantage here is that you can completely avoid the entire process of certification or testing for the local labor market, which can be quite time-consuming. But you would have to present strictly outstanding qualifications in order to prove your work will benefit national interest.
- First preference: If your entire work history and qualifications can be considered top of the field, you will be included in the first preference workers ranks. Keep in mind this is a rather rare description and reserved for individuals who have earned some kind of international recognition through their work or have earned at least a significant award. You can also be accepted if you are able to provide a portfolio showing special and groundbreaking achievements in your field and to guarantee that you will continue working in the same area of expertise, once you have become permanent resident.
- Second preference: Even if you don’t meet this restrictive 1st preference standard, you may still self petition, provided you meet the requirements for the second preference employment category. As a national interest waiver, you may need a relevant degree, PhD in most cases, or a BA with experience. The applicant has to work in an area considered of substantial intrinsic merit. This means that you will be required to present extensive documentation that will demonstrate your work is going to fully profit the USA national interest.
- Religious worker: To qualify as a religious worker, you need to be able to prove you have been a member of a denomination which is represented by a non- profit organization in the US and that you are going to work as a priest or minister for that particular organization.
You should ask your work permit lawyer for more info and for the most suitable application tips for you, even before you start considering this form of green card self- petition.