Permanent Residency (aka green card)

Emory sponsors certain employees for employment-based permanent residency. It is an employer-driven process, so there must be a business need and commitment by the hiring department to sponsor permanent residency for their scholar.  Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants or green card holders, who are legally accorded the privilege of residing and working permanently in the United States.  

Any PR application based on an employment offer by Emory must be reviewed and signed by ISSS.  Retaining own immigration attorney is not allowed.

Eligibility & employment criteria for Emory sponsorship

  • The position must be faculty or faculty equivalent.
  • The position must be full-time and permanent (not time-limited or based solely on grant funding).
  • The university must intend to employ the scholar indefinitely.
  • Emory does not sponsor postdocs because these positions do not meet DHS/DOL standards for permanent positions. 
  • Ermory typically does not sponsor permanent residency for positions that require only a bachelor's degree because Emory must demonstrate to the DOL that there are no qualified, willing, and able US workers that meet the minimum requirements for the position.
  • Emory does not sponsor staff positions, unless a special (rare) exception is made by the department chair and the dean of school.

H-1B is a great non-immigration status that will nicely transition a foreign national's status from that of a non-immigrant to an immigrant (= permanent resident). But the permanent residency application process should begin no later than Year 4.5 of their 6-year H-1B period. That way, they can extend H-1B employment beyond their 6th year while permanent residency is pending.

Category options

Emory files petitions for permanent residency in 3 categories:

  1. EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher: This category is limited to those who have risen to the very top of their field. They must be internationally recognized as a leader in the field, and must be able to prove this through awards, publications, and attestations from other experts. This category does not require a labor certification.

  2. EB-2 Special Handling for College and University Teachers: This category is specific to those who will be teaching courses at the college/university level. It requires a labor certification, but the recruitment requirements are less than those for a standard EB-2.

  3. EB-2 Standard Filing: This category is for individuals who will not be teaching courses, and who do not qualify for the EB-1 category. It requires a labor certification process than is handled by an outside law firm, and the recruitment process is complex and time consuming. The department is responsible for paying the recruitment expenses as well.

Procedure - request form & fee schedule

  • If the hiring department and school want to sponsor permanent residency for a qualifying employee, complete a PR request form and and email it to isss@emory.edu
  • Depending on the category that the scholar is qualified for (EB-1, EB-2, etc.), the permanent residency process can vary widely, as well as the cost (click here for fee schedule). 
  • Steps might include recruitment according to Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines, filing labor certification with the DOL, filing Form I-140 with USCIS, and adjustment of status. The process may begin as soon as possible after the scholar is hired.
  • After ISSS has received the request and it has been determined to be in accordance with Emory University policy for PR sponsorship, ISSS will contact a designated immigration law firm to set up a meeting (by conference call or in person) to start the process. 
  • Any PR application based on an employment offer by Emory must be reviewed and signed by ISSS.
  • ISSS has exclusive authorization to file permanent residency petitions on behalf of Emory University. If an outside attorney is used without the prior knowledge and consent of ISSS, the petition will be withdrawn immediately, even if filing fees or attorney's fees have already been paid.
  • The hiring department (via email to the department contact listed on the request form) will receive invoices for fees and expenses, and should initiate all steps except for the adjustment of status, which is the scholar's responsibility. 

Travel restrictions

Applying for permanent residency won't affect an H-1B employee's ability to travel, apply for an H-1B visa stamp, and return to the US in H-1B status while their permanent residency application is pending. 

For employees in other statuses, there are potential risks involved in traveling abroad while a permanent residency application is pending. They should talk to their ISSS advisor before making any travel arrangements.