Green Card Self-Petitioning Versus The “PERM” Process

There are the exceptions to the rule that you generally need a sponsor to allow you to get a green card: Individuals who are some of the few, at the very top of their fields, whether they are considered to be Aliens of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors or Researchers, or Multinational Executives or Managers. If you fall under one of these categories, you can often self-petition; you don’t have to have a petitioning employer filing a labor certification for you. You essentially skip that whole first stage and then you are allowed to continue on with the process.

But by definition in the regulation, these are the people who are not necessarily found in every employment situation. They are the people found at the top of the field.

In addition to those three top categories: Our Extraordinary Ability Person, Outstanding Professor or Researcher, or Multinational Executive or Manager, there are also people who would provide a service to the United States and they can apply through what is called a National Interest Waiver.

The National Interest Waiver is something that is given to people who can show that giving them the green card is not trying to contravene the intent of the normal labor certification process that we discussed earlier.

The National Interest Waiver is designed for those who are going to show that there is something in the United States that is needed that they can provide that is in the national interest: Information, Education, Service or something that is not normally available or that would provide a specific benefit to the U.S. population as a whole, as opposed to just a specific company.

Q: Can you give me an example of someone you helped under those circumstances?

The ones that come to mind are people who are undertaking medical research, not necessarily medical doctors but individuals who are researching the efficacy of drugs that are being used for cancer patients, or those who are trying to create the analysis and understanding of the different permutations of what happens when you give someone a drug and how that reacts with their everyday life or reacts with other medicines they are required to take.

These are people who are also at the top of their fields, generally, although they may not be at the very top. They could become someone who is an Extraordinary Ability Person, but are currently just someone who is doing something that is pretty hard to find in the United States and therefore the Government has said that we do not have to show that there is no one able, willing or qualified to do the job. The nature of what they are doing and what they can provide to the U.S. is in the national interest.