Self-Sponsored Permanent Residence Based on Achievement

While the vast majority of employment-based immigration options require the sponsorship of an American employer, certain foreign nationals are eligible for self-sponsorship and may directly file a petition with USCIS for permanent residence based on achievements in their fields. Such self-petitions do not require a PERM Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and are possible in two of the employment-based immigration preference categories:

First Preference (EB-1 Extraordinary Ability): Petitioners who can show “extraordinary ability” and international or national acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics may file in this category. USCIS has strict guidelines on what constitutes “extraordinary ability.” Acceptable evidence may include receipt of awards or prizes in the field, national-level press or media coverage, attestations of original contributions of significance from leading experts in the field, citations of peer-reviewed articles, participation as a judge of the work of others in the field, election to membership in organizations based on achievement, evidence of performance in a critical role for organizations with a distinguished reputation, and/or receiving a high salary relative to others in the field.

Second Preference (EB-2 National Interest Waiver): A self-petitioner in this category must have an advanced degree (or foreign equivalent) or demonstrate “exceptional ability.” In addition, the applicant must successfully demonstrate eligibility for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) of job offer, which eliminates the PERM labor certification requirement. USCIS considers the applicant’s past achievements and makes a determination on their current and potential future influence on their field on a national level. Success hinges on the applicant’s ability to show that the benefit of their work to the United States outweighs the national interest in protecting American workers through the PERM Labor Certification process.

Our office has filed many successful petitions in both of the above categories, and offers services in determining which of the above two categories is best suited to demonstrate the self-petitioner’s achievements and expertise to establish eligibility for immigrant status in the United States.