New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Self Sponsorship For A US Green Card

Author: Green Card lawyer Alena Shautsova

Many are aware that in order to get a green card or permanent resident status in the US, one has to have a family member or a job to sponsor him/her. But there are situations when a person can actually sponsor him/herself, without the need of an “outside” sponsorship. Here, I will list the most common situations when this can be done. Check, if you may qualify for one!

Let’s start with the realistic options for those who do not have millions of dollars to part with, and have not won a Nobel Prize:

1. Asylum: asylum is filed when a person is afraid to go back to her/his country due to a “protected ground”. I have a big page on asylum, and you will find a lot of information there. But here is the main point: it has to be filed (usually) within one year of arrival into the US. All family members can be listed as dependents and will receive status as well, if the main applicant wins her case.

2. VAWA: for this you had to be legally married to an abusive spouse who is a US citizen or permanent resident, or you need to have an abusive USC or LPR parent or child! You do not need to wait for the abusive relative to file for you, you can file for yourself.

3. Victims of human trafficking: this is a T visa/status. If you were brought to the US and forced to work for pennies, threatened that your family would be harmed if you quit, forced to pay off a huge “debt” etc. you may qualify for a T visa/ status that ultimately leads to a green card.

4. U visa/status: this option is suitable for victims of crime (such as domestic violence; assault; etc.). The victim and her family members will obtain status. One caveat: government body has to sign a U visa certification.

5. SIJ: special immigrant juvenile status. This option may work for those who are under 21 years old, and were abandoned, neglected or abused by one or both parents.

6. DV Lottery: you never know! Just make sure to update your picture if you submit your application every year, and provide accurate information.

This is not a complete list, and there are some other, rare situations, when one will be able to sponsor him/herself.

Employment based filings

1. EB 1 1 extraordinary ability: this option works for those who can meet a high threshold of falling into 10% of best out of the best in their industry. A person here can sponsor himself inside, or outside the US. Often, those who held O -visas would try to take this path. It works for researchers, consultants, musicians, business people, and many others!

2. EB2 with NIW: this works for those who cannot collect enough evidence to meet the EB1 requirements, but can argue that the US will benefit from them being in the US and without the need of labor certification. In other words, these applicants state that they are so good, that it is in the interests of the US to allow them to sponsor themselves.


This option works only for those who have substantial capital. If a person can invest at risk between $550k to $1M, he/she can still sponsor herself and her spouse and children under 21.

If you have questions about meeting criteria for self-sponsoring, call us at 917-885-2261.

05 October 2017
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