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Extraordinary Ability Green Cards

Permanent resident status is usually gained in two ways: through an employer or a family relationship.  However, there are some immigrant workers who can petition to be eligible for a green card without a sponsoring employer or family member, and these are called "individuals of extraordinary ability."  These individuals can "self-petition" because they are considered to be the best of the best in their field.  Some examples include Nobel Prize winners, notable athletes, and others who have achieved high honors in their field of work.  This avenue of obtaining a green card for a foreign worker, although rare, is the best route.  These individuals can usually obtain lawful permanent resident status immediately, while other, less-acclaimed workers, may not receive their green cards for a decade.