Permanent Resident status is of indefinite duration and, once obtained, is not tied to the employer. Normally an individual will have nonimmigrant status prior to and during the filing of a Permanent Resident petition or application.
Explanation of Permanent Resident Process
If a Department/Unit wishes to sponsor a foreign national employee for permanent residence (“green card”), that employee must be in a permanent (or indefinite) and full-time position and must possess the qualifications required by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and/or Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. Permanent, in reference to a research or teaching position, means:
- Tenure-track, or
- Position of indefinite or unlimited duration, in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.
Note: Postdoc positions, and positions with a definite end-date (no expectation of unlimited or indefinite employment, and or time-limited positions) are not considered “permanent” according to USCIS and DOL regulations. Temporarily funded positions must be discussed with the International Employment Manager to determine whether they meet government regulations for permanent residency.
Because both the USCIS and DOL impose strict legal requirements for permanent resident petitions, it is essential that departments contact International Employment (IE) before promising sponsorship, so that IE can review the position information and the credentials of the foreign national employee to determine potential eligibility, per USCIS and DOL regulations.
Initiation of Permanent Residence Process
The Department must initiate the request for permanent residence by completing the Initiation of Permanent Residence Form. The form must be signed by:
- Department Head
- Employee, and
- The Dean of the College/School.
Note: The Department must also submit a copy of the appointment letter for the sponsored foreign national.
Submit the completed form, with a copy of the appointment letter for the sponsored employee, to:
- International Employment
- Human Resources
- Campus Box 7210
International Employment will make a preliminary determination as to whether or not the position and the individual qualify for a permanent resident petition, and will advise the department/unit accordingly.
I-140 Immigrant Petition:
IE will prepare the labor certification application (if necessary), and the I-140 immigrant petition and all accompanying supporting documents. During the initial permanent residence consultation meeting, IE will review with the department and foreign national employee all of the documents and evidence that will be required for the corresponding I-140 immigrant category, as well as cost and timelines. Please click here to see a flowchart of several permanent residence processes.
When requested to do so by IE, the department will eventually need to supply the filing fee for the I-140 petition, which is $700. The department should not process or send IE a check for $700 unless IE has specifically requested it. The check should be addressed to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the filing address, for check request purposes, is:
Dallas Lockbox: USCIS
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
IE will also review with the sponsored employee how to apply for the I-485 adjustment of status. This application allows the employee and family to adjust from their current nonimmigrant status to Permanent Residence (immigrant) status.