A person’s hand on top of a United States permanent resident card, on top of two small American flags, in Houston, Texas.

Is It Possible to Get a US Work Visa Without Sponsorship?

How to Get an Employment-Based, Non-Sponsored Visa


Many people hope to come to the United States to further their careers or to seek opportunities for growth. While some individuals are able to obtain an employer-sponsored visa, some do not have that ability. Fortunately, there are options for certain highly-qualified or high-net-worth people hoping to work or invest in the U.S. despite not having sponsorship from an employer. It is important to discuss your case with an immigration lawyer to determine the best path forward.


At Fong Ilagan in Houston, Texas, we represent individuals hoping to work in the United States. Whether you are seeking to immigrate permanently and work full-time or just need employment on a temporary basis our lawyers can help. Contact our office online or call (713) 772-2300 to discuss your rights. Call now to schedule a consultation.

What Are Non-Employer Sponsored Permanent Work Visas?

Individuals hoping to work or invest in the United States have three options for employment-based permanent visas: non-employer-sponsored (self-petitions) or investor visas. If you do not have an employer that will sponsor you for permanent residency, you will need to seek a self-petition. Or, if you are wealthy and meet the required capital investment threshold, you could file an immigrant investor petition for yourself.


Self-petition and investor petition (non-employer-sponsored) visa options include:


    • EB-1A Visa: Individuals of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may be eligible for an “employment-based, first preference” visa. To demonstrate extraordinary ability, you must meet certain criteria or provide evidence of a major internationally-recognized award. Individuals are not required to provide proof of an offer of employment or a labor certification.
  • EB-2 Visa: Individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability may apply for an EB-2 visa without employer sponsorship if they can meet the requirements for a national interest waiver.

  • EB-5 Visa: The final employment-based visa for which a non-citizen can apply without employer sponsorship is an EB-5 Investor Immigrant visa. The EB-5 program enables investors who meet certain criteria to seek permanent residence.

Employment-based visas are generally faster to obtain than most family-based visas, but the process can be complicated. It is important to discuss your legal options with a skilled business immigration lawyer. An attorney can help to determine your eligibility for a non-sponsored employment visa.

Are There Non-Immigrant Self-Petition Work Visas?

No, generally, there are not. However, foreign nationals from a treaty country seeking to do substantial trade in the United States may apply for an E-1 trader visa, and those from a treaty country with a substantial amount of capital to invest in a U.S. enterprise may apply for an E-2 treaty investor visa.

Do I Need an Immigration Attorney?

In general, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney any time you are seeking immigration to the United States. The legal process can be difficult and complex. Employment-based visas require a significant amount of documentation. 


Without the help of a Houston business immigration lawyer, you may not meet all the requirements causing delays or even a denial of your application. A lawyer can help you understand the legal process and the best course of action to achieve your goals. 

Hiring a Business Immigration Lawyer

If you need to seek an employment-based visa in the United States, contact our office online or call (713) 772-2300 to schedule an appointment. Whether you are looking to work in the U.S. temporarily or are seeking permanent residence, we may be able to help. We offer cost-effective solutions for all of your legal needs. Do not wait until it is too late. 


At Fong Ilagan, our Houston lawyers understand the importance of compassionate representation throughout the immigration process. We have a team of dedicated business immigration lawyers with the resources you need to get the best possible outcome in your case. Let us help you get the results you deserve. We pride ourselves on client communication and Texas-friendly service. Call our office today to get started. 


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