Some highly skilled professionals, even those who hold long-term, nonimmigrant visa status (G-4 international workers, O extraordinary ability nonimmigrants, E treaty trader and investors) and who are not currently seeking a job change, may want to consider exploring their green card options by applying for an extraordinary ability immigrant visa. While this visa category is reserved for those foreign nationals with top credentials, visa are immediately available – there is currently no backlog for any country – and individuals can self-petition – they do not need an offer of employment. Moreover, under rules that were issued in June, these cases can be processed under "premium processing." In other words, for an additional $1,000 filing fee, USCIS will adjudicate the case within 15 calendar days.
Jack Pinnix, Allen and Pinnix’s Senior immigration attorney warns that this category clearly is not available to everyone. But, eligible foreign nationals can complete this first step in the two-step green card process and find out if obtaining a green card this way is a viable option.