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Green Card Through Self Petition

In two classifications of immigrant workers, the workers are not required to have a job offer and may self-petition (the worker does not need an employer to sponsor them).  These categories include:

  • Individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, (E11)
  • Individuals who were granted a National Interest Waiver (NIW), (E21)

Note: You may NOT self petition based on employment, if you are not in one of these two categories. For other employment based green cards, see the “Green Card Through a Job Offer” or “Green Card Through Investment” pages.

Individuals of extraordinary ability are considered to be the best of the best in their field and it is an eligibility category that applies to very few individuals.  Examples of who may be considered an E11 immigrant include Nobel Prize winners, notable athletes, and others who have achieved great successes in their field.

Application Process

If You Are Living Outside the United States
You can become a permanent resident through consular processing when living outside the United States. Consular processing is when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, when a visa is available. For more information on consular processing, see the “Consular Processing.”

If You Are Living Inside the United States
You can become a permanent resident through adjustment of status when living in the United States. Once the I-140 is approved and a visa number is available you can apply on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to become a permanent resident. For more information see the “Visa Availability & Priority Dates” and the “Adjustment of Status” pages.

Supporting Evidence for Form I-485
You should submit the following evidence with your Form I-485:

  • Evidence of inspection, admission or parole into the United States (Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record)
  • If you have already been approved for an immigrant petition, submit a copy of the approval notice sent to you by the USCIS
  • Two color photos taken within 30 days
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Data Sheet (for applicants between the ages of 14 and 79)
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination (not required if you are applying based on continuous residence since before 1972, or if you have had a medical exam based on a fiancé visa)
Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/30/2011