What You Need to Know About EB-1 and Self-Petitioning

If you are attempting to get legal status in the United States, it can be a frustrating and long process if you don’t know what to expect or if you have not had the chance to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. A lawyer can be very helpful even in the event that you choose to pursue self-petitioning or EB-1.

There are two primary classifications of immigrant employees that do not require a job offer, meaning that the individual can self-petition. In more typical situations the worker would need an employer to sponsor him or her. These categories eligible for self-petition include:

  • Individuals who are granted a national interest waiver (NIW) (E21).
  • Individuals who have extraordinary ability in education, arts, sciences, business or athletics (E11).

You are not eligible to self-petition based on your employment if you do not fall into one of the above two categories. You may be eligible for other types of green cards based on your employment such as green card through investment or green card through a job offer. Those individuals who are considered of extraordinary ability would be classified as the best of the best in their respective fields.

Notable athletes or Nobel Prize winners are examples of those who have achieved outstanding recognition. In order to initiate a self-petition, the first thing to consider is whether or not you are currently eligible to do this on your own. You may need to submit an 1-480 or I-485 and supplementary materials may also need to be included with this submission. These include:

  • Your medical information sheet, form G-325A
  • A copy of the approval
  • Two color photos taken within the previous month

In the event that you are not living in the United States, you may be eligible to become a permanent resident with the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. As you can tell, there are many requirements even for self-petitioning. Your immigration lawyer can prove to be a valuable resource during this time.

Even in the event that you meet the qualifications, consulting with a lawyer can help you understand your rights more fully and help you prepare for the process. Since little mistakes can translate to delays or even denial of your approval, this can have a significant impact on your life. It is far better to have your application reviewed carefully with the help of an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible as you choose to self-petition.

Simply because you may meet the grounds for qualification does not necessarily guarantee that you will be approved and having a lawyer look over your application in full can help to minimize the chances of mistakes and give you a clear understanding of what to expect going forward.

In order to be classified as having extraordinary ability, you must meet three of ten different criteria below or provide evidence of an outstanding one-time achievement such as an Olympic medal, an Oscar or a Pulitzer. These criteria include:

  • Evidence of any type of commercial success in the performing arts field
  • Evidence of an internationally recognized or a nationally recognized prize or excellence award
  • Evidence supporting that you have a higher salary than others in your field
  • Evidence of you being an author in scholarly articles in major trade publications or other documents classified as significant to the field
  • Evidence that you have been asked to serve as a judge of the work of others in your field
  • Evidence of material that has been published about you in major trade publications or professional organizations as a result of your contributions

Those individuals who are outstanding researchers and professors, the employer must file a USCIS form I-140 or the petition for alien worker. As you can see, this process can be confusing without the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Even in the event that you have all of the materials organized for your self-petition, you should have it carefully reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney before submitting it. Any delays or denials as a result of small mistakes can be frustrating and have a significant impact on your future. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced immigration attorney to learn more about your rights.

A New Jersey immigration lawyer can help you understand whether or not you’re eligible to apply via self-petitioning and explain what to expect in the process.



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