Guide | Self-Petition Green Cards

Learn how to self-petition for a green card under the EB-1 extraordinary ability category or the National Interest Waiver (NIW) category. This comprehensive guide includes information on who qualifies, how to collect the right type of evidence for a successful petition, timelines, deadlines and FAQs about the petition process.

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If you are a professional and believe you have “extraordinary ability” in the fields of science, art, education, business or athletics, but do not have a job or a job offer in the U.S., this Guide will teach you:

Part 1: The various self-petition green card options
Part 2: Legal standards for “extraordinary ability”
Part 3: The National Interest Waiver petition process
Part 4: Steps in the self-petition process
Part 5: Common questions about the green cards and the process.

About the Guide

Self-petition green card options include Extraordinary Ability and the National Interest Waiver petitions. These two options differ from other green card processes because they do not require a job or job offer in the U.S. for a successful petition, although an applicant does need to demonstrate that they are coming to the U.S. to work in their field of expertise. These cases are also for professionals who have a high level of expertise in their fields.

An Extraordinary Ability petition can be appropriate for anyone who has reached the top of their area of specialty. That can include business, arts, athletics, science, engineering and medicine. For a National Interest Waiver petition, the area of specialty has to be in an area of substantial intrinsic merit and can encompass many different fields in science, medicine, engineering and the arts.