Are there any visas or green cards that I can get on my own? • TechCrunch

Here is another version From “Dear Sophie,” an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working for tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above boundaries and pursue their dreams.” Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. “Whether you work in people operations, are a founder, or are looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I would like Answer your questions In my next column.

TechCrunch+ members get access to the weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use ALCORN promo code to buy a 1 or 2-year subscription at 50% off.

dear sophie,

I am so worried and stressed about all the layoffs! I am safe now, but this made me realize that I need to take control of my destiny. Are there any visas or green cards that I can apply for on my own without relying on an employer?

– stretch the silicone

dear stressed,

I salute you for taking the first step toward determining your immigration destiny – and gaining peace of mind.

Let me take your question about green cards first, as recent developments are affecting the timing of the two green cards that individuals can apply for on their own: the EB-1A Green Card of Exceptional Ability and the EB-2 NIW (National Benefit Waiver). Individuals can apply for an EB-1A or EB-2 NIW without an employer sponsor or even a job offer.

Last week, the US State Department released a dossier Visa Bulletin for December 2022which shows green card applications that can move forward based on the number of green cards available in each category, and the number available for individuals born in certain countries with high levels of immigration to the United States, such as India and China.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) releases a monthly report showing whether it will accept adjustment of status applications—the last step in the green card process, along with an interview—based on the State Department’s final action or filing dates. USCIS December reportreleased last week, states that USCIS will accept modified I-485 status applications based on filing dates.

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn against a background with the TechCrunch logo.

Image credits: joanna buniac / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

File for EB-1 Now!

If you are eligible to apply for an EB-1A green card, you should apply ASAP—and concurrently file your I-140 green card application and I-485 adjustment of status. The reason for urgency is that although the EB-1 green card category is still valid in December for all individuals regardless of where they were born, this is expected to change for individuals born in India or China.

Given the higher demand for EB-1 green cards and the decrease in green card numbers available this fiscal year compared to the previous year, the State Department expects that it will impose deadlines for individuals born in India and China. If this applies to you, speak to an immigration attorney now about moving forward quickly.

Each fiscal year, 140,000 employment-based green cards are available, plus any unused family-class green cards from the previous fiscal year. This fiscal year (FY2023), USCIS estimates there will be 197,000 green cards available compared to last fiscal year (FY2022), when there were 281,507 green cards. I have long advocated increasing the cap on the number of employment-based green cards available each year and eliminating the country-by-country cap on employment-based green cards, both of which would require congressional action.

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