Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR), often referred to as a green card, allows a person to live and work in the United States indefinitely. There are various pathways through which individuals may obtain a green card; family-based petitions, National Interest Waivers, the Diversity Visa Lottery, and Employment-Based petitions.
The University of Kansas provides sponsorship for certain types of employer-sponsored green card cases for eligible employees in both the Employment-Based first preference (EB-1) and Employment-Based second preference (EB-2) categories. For eligibility criteria please see the KU Policy on Immigration Related Petitions. For information on the costs associated with preparing and filing permanent residency cases please see Immigration Fees.
All employment-based permanent residency applications sponsored by KU must be prepared and filed by, or approved by, HRM. Hiring/employing units may not prepare or sign immigration forms or labor certification applications. KU maintains designated outside immigration counsel for cases that HRM refers out for preparation on behalf of KU.
- Becoming a permanent resident does not affect the citizenship of the international employee.
- There are a limited number of green cards available annually. Green cards are allocated on a quota-based system according to preference category as well as the employee’s country of birth
- Individuals maintaining permanent residence status for five years may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
While most university-sponsored applications are successfully adjudicated, HRM cannot guarantee a green card or any immigration status to an employee. The permanent residency application process can take years to complete and there can be significant fluctuations in government agency processing times. During the entire PR process, until the employee is granted a green card, it is strongly recommended that the employee maintain his/her nonimmigrant status (e.g. H-1B, J-1, O-1, TN) by requesting an extension of stay.
Special Handling Labor Certification/PERM for Teaching Positions (EB-2)
A PERM Special Handling Labor Certification is a unique pathway to permanent residency only allowed for teaching positions at colleges and universities. A Special Handling Labor Certification allows colleges and universities to sponsor international individuals as permanent employees in teaching positions as long as the international individual is deemed the best qualified for the position.
- The position is full-time
- Teaching must be a formal component of the job
- The position must be either tenured, tenure-track, or indefinitely renewable
- A printed ad must have been placed in a national professional publication or an online advertisement must have been placed for at least 30 days on an approved online professional journal website
- The international individual must be selected as the best qualified candidate from the recruitment (or re-recruitment) and selection process
Standard Labor Certification/PERM (EB-2)
The PERM program (Program Electronic Review Management) is a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) process requiring employers to conduct a good faith test of the U.S. labor market to determine whether there are any minimally qualified, willing and available U.S. workers for the offered position. In order to file a Standard Labor Certification with the U.S. Department of Labor the employer must show proof that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers in the workforce ready and willing to take on the job. In addition to the labor market test, the employer must attest that the employment of the non-U.S. citizen will have no adverse effects on the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed U.S. workers.
- The position is full-time
- The position must be indefinitely renewable with at least 36 months of expected funding
- The hiring department must be willing to undergo a re-recruitment process to show evidence that there are no qualified, available U.S. worker in the labor pool.
During re-recruitment, if a minimally qualified U.S. worker applies for and is available to fill the position being advertised, the hiring unit will not be able to use the Standard Labor Certification approach to pursue permanent residency.
Eligible Standard Labor Certification cases are referred by HRM to KU’s designated outside immigration counsel for case preparation and filing. If you are a KU department wanting to initiate this process for an international employee, please contact email@example.com.
Outstanding Professors/Researchers (EB-1B)
- Requires employer sponsorship
- Is for individuals who are internationally-recognized for outstanding academic achievements and has at least three years of experience in teaching or conducting research within his or her academic field
- Is for positions that are full-time, tenured or tenure-track, or a comparable “permanent” (indefinitely renewable) research position (postdoctoral researcher or “visiting” positions are ineligible)
Evidence Required for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher Case
The petition must contain evidence to satisfy at least two of the eligibility criteria listed below along with satisfying USCIS’ final merits determination:
- Receipt of major awards or prizes for outstanding achievement in the field
- Memberships in associations in the field which require outstanding achievement as a criteria of membership
- Published material in professional publications about the individual’s work in the academic field
- Experience judging the work of others the same or a related field
- Original scholarly and/or scientific contributions of major significance
- Authorship of scholarly books or articles in international professional journals
Although The University of Kansas may choose to sponsor its employees in the three categories above, USCIS regulations allow for self-sponsorship in other categories, meaning The University of Kansas will not act as petitioner and will not sign any petition forms in support of these applications. The individual prepares and files the appropriate paperwork directly with USCIS or with a qualified immigration attorney of their choosing.
Categories That Permit Self-Sponsorship
- EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability
- EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional whose Immigration is in the National Interest (National Interest Waiver)
Adjustments of Status (I-485)
The Adjustment of Status is the final stage in the green card application process. At this point KU has made the employee eligible for a green card but at this stage the green card application becomes a personal application and is not prepared or filed by KU. The application can either be prepared by the international employee on their own or they may hire an immigration attorney of their choosing. General information on the AOS process, including document requirements, may be found on the USCIS website.
International employees may only file their adjustment of status (I-485) application if their priority date is current. Certain countries face backlogs and must wait and maintain their underlying immigration status while waiting for a green card to become available. The Department of State Visa Bulletin provides monthly updates to current priority dates.
It is possible to concurrently file for work and travel authorization with the I-485, but there are very specific issues surrounding work and travel at this stage that may require consultation with an immigration attorney.