Sponsoring Yourself for a Green Card: Two Ways to Make it Happen

Ah, the allure of the green card. It’s more than just a piece of plastic—it’s the golden ticket for non-U.S. citizens dreaming of permanent residence in the United States. To some, owning this card represents freedom and opportunity as it allows individuals to live and work in America. And guess what? Also, after having a green card for five years (three if married to/living with a U.S. citizen), it can even put you on the path to U.S. citizenship.


The Benefits of a Green Card

Before diving into the heart of the topic, let’s revisit the pros of having a green card:

  1. Security: No more anxieties if your visa is employer-dependent.
  2. Bring the Family: Do you have a spouse or unmarried kids under 21? If so, they can also apply for green cards with you.
  3. Job Flexibility: Work for someone else, change jobs, or even start your own business.
  4. Citizenship Awaits: Potentially just 5 years away (or 3 if you’re married to/living with a U.S. citizen!
  5. Travel Made Simple: Bid goodbye to visa stamping.
  6. Family Sponsorship: Share the love; sponsor your eligible family members.
  7. Unlock Federal Benefits: Some federal benefits are just for green card holders and U.S. citizens.
  8. Study Savings: Some institutions might offer you reduced tuition.


But here’s the catch: while there are many paths leading to the green card, most options require you to have a U.S. job offer or a close/immediate U.S. citizen relative. If you’re coming up short on both counts, worry not! You can still potentially pave your way with the self-sponsored green card route. Let’s explore two popular self-petition categories: EB-1A Green Card and the National Interest Waiver Green Card.


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EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card

Got a knack for art? Made breakthroughs in science? Or perhaps you’ve shaken up the business or startup world? If you’ve been a standout performer in your field, the EB-1A might be your green card gateway.


Here’s a quick checklist for potential eligibility:

  • Know Your Strength: Recognize your extraordinary ability.
  • Gather Proof: Documents that show national or international recognition.
  • Future Aspirations: Make sure you can demonstrate you will continue to work in your field in the U.S.


Not sure about your credentials? Consider consulting with experienced EB-1A green card attorneys, like the ones at McEntee Law Group, for guidance.


National Interest Waiver (NIW) Green Card

If your work in research, science, business, education, or other field, is address a problem in the U.S. or helping the country or the economy, then the NIW might be your route. Think of it as America saying, “Your future work will be beneficial to us as a country, so you can sponsor yourself for a green card!”


Here’s what you need to showcase:

  • Value Proposition: Your future work should have substantial merit and national significance.
  • Track Record: Demonstrate that you’re the right person to advance this work.
  • National Interest: Convince authorities that bypassing usual requirements for you is in the nation’s best interest.


Again, if in doubt, turn to an experienced attorney or accredited representative, like those at McEntee Law Group, or check the USCIS website for detailed guidelines.


Closing Thoughts

Green cards might be the dream, but like all good things, they require effort, patience, and sometimes, a bit of strategy. However, with some great policy updates from the Biden Administration, now is the time to consider these!


Whether you’re taking the extraordinary route or championing national interests, make sure to do your homework and consider consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer. Your American dream might be closer than you think




McEntee Law Group exclusively handles immigration cases. We are immigrant-founded and run, and are happy to have a diverse team with personal experiences relating to immigration. Although we are based in Chicago, we handle cases internationally and can provide service to you wherever you may be, including all 50 states.

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