At Antonini & Cohen, we often hear from clients who wonder if it’s possible to self-sponsor in order to get a green card. Typically, the only area where you can sponsor yourself is through employment-based immigration. Even then, you will most likely need an employer to sponsor you.
However, there are a few exceptions that make it possible to sponsor yourself for a green card.
- The extraordinary ability exception: We jokingly refer to this one as the “I am so great green card,” because it requires that you be at the top of your field and have the evidence to back it up. For example, if you are in the top 5% in your field nationally or internationally you may qualify.
- The multinational company option: If you are a multinational manager or executive and you’re applying through your company that you’ve opened in the United States, you may be able to self-petition for a green card. In addition to having both a foreign and U.S. entity and being a manager or executive, there are some additional requirements regarding how long you’ve been employed in the field and whether you have enough revenue and employees.
- The national interest waiver process: If you have either an advanced degree or exceptional ability (not necessarily extraordinary, as in the earlier example, but still near the top of your field), you may qualify for self-sponsorship if you can show that your work is in the national interest. This often includes work in the public health sector or research that will benefit the community as whole.
- The investor green card process: If you’re planning to invest in a new commercial enterprise to benefit the U.S. economy and create new jobs, you may be able to obtain a self-sponsored green card. The standard, however, is quite high, requiring about a $500,000 investment and the commitment to create a certain number of jobs within a set period of time. It’s not an option that works for all entrepreneurs.
If you don’t meet the criteria for these options, an Atlanta immigration attorney can assess whether there are steps you might take now to better position yourself in the future. There might also be ways to involve an employer and receive a green card with their sponsorship.
If you’re hoping to sponsor your own green card, it’s smart to first talk to an attorney. Please call us at (404) 850-9394 or visit us online.
Nisha K. Karnani was born in the United Kingdom to Indian parents and immigrated to the United States as a child. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Economics from the University of North Carolina in 1998 and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2001.
Ms. Karnani has practiced immigration law exclusively since being admitted to the Georgia Bar in 2001. She was an Associate Attorney with Cohen & Associates beginning in 2001, a firm which merged and became the Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group in 2013. As a Partner at Antonini and Cohen, Ms. Karnani represents clients in employment and family immigration on issues. She also represents victims of domestic violence and other crimes in various immigration matters.