Is that the only way to get a green card, or can someone apply on their own?
No, sometimes family members sponsor or in rare cases, a person can apply on their own.
There are certain categories such as "EB-1" or Natioanl interest waivers whee you can apply on your own
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Thank you for posting your question.
There are two routes for foreign nationals to obtain green cards: employment-based and family-based. Most of the employment based categories require a specific sponsor, but some, such as EB-1 Extraordinary Ability petitions, do not. Family-based categories require a particular familial relationship with either a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident.
Nisha V. Fontaine, Esq.
Serotte Reich Wilson, LLP