US Permanent Residence

Who is Sponsored for Permanent Residence?




Permanent Residence Sponsorship is Automatically Provided

The Department must direct ISS if it wants to sponsor Permanent Residence

The position is ineligible for Permanent Residence Sponsorship

  • Tenured faculty
  • Tenure-track faculty
  • Clinical Faculty
  • Professors of Practice
  • Research Faculty
  • Continuing Lecturers and other staff who “instruct”
  • Research Staff
  • Any other staff for whom permanent residence is not prohibited
  • Postdocs
  • Short-Term Lecturers
  • Visiting faculty or scholars

How and When is the Process Initiated?

For 'Category A' faculty, permanent residence is initiated promptly upon notification from the Department that the offer of Purdue employment is accepted. 

For 'Category B' employees, the Department must request the permanent residence process. The request is submitted by the designated ISS Liaison through MyISS. In general, it is recommended that permanent residence be initiated during the initial three years of H-1B validity, to ensure that sufficient progress is made prior to the employee reaching the end of the normal 6-year maximum for H-1B status. Note that if sufficient progress is made, 'post-6th-year' extensions of H-1B status may be possible.

For 'Category C' individuals, permanent residence sponsorship by Purdue is prohibited by law. This is because US immigration law requires a more long-lasting employment relationship that the listed appointments involve. This does not prevent the individual from exploring whether they are eligible to 'self-sponsor' permanent residence in either the EB-1A category for extraordinary ability, or the EB-2 category for National Interest Waivers (of the requirement for a permanent employment situation). 

Which Permanent Residence Process is Pursued?

U.S. law establishes different categories of permanent residence sponsorship, based either on the nature of the role or the candidate’s impact within the field.

For 'Category A' faculty, the default process at Purdue is EB-2 'Special Handling' permanent residence for university teachers. Purdue practice is that EB-1B is pursued only if (i) EB-2 sponsorship is either not available or not viable, or (ii) the employee is adversely impacted by the 'Per-Country' limits placed by US law on permanent residence for applicants of certain countries of birth (countries of chargeability).

For most staff within 'Category B', the EB-2 or EB-3 'Basic Labor Certification' process is utilized. For research faculty and some research staff, EB-1B permanent residence (as an Outstanding Professor or Researcher) may be pursued at the Department's choice.  If ISS approves a case for EB-1B processing, International Scholar Services assigns EB-1B cases to our designated outside immigration counsel.

International Scholar Services determination as to the preferred category of sponsorship for the candidate is final.

How Long does Permanent Residence Sponsorship Take?

Permanent residence is a multi-stage process that takes considerable time. Additionally, government processing of each 'stage' of the process is lengthening. In general-

  • EB-2 processes may take up to 3 years to "complete" (see below for what this means); the majority of this time is spent waiting for each of the four government submissions to be adjudicated.
  • EB-1B processes may take up to 2 years to "complete" (see below for what this means); Half of this time is spent in preparing the very complex paperwork required for the submission, while the other half of this time is spent waiting for each of the two government submissions to be adjudicated

What does "complete" mean? US law separates the request for the immigrant 'label' from the request to actually receive the greencard. In other words, the paperwork that asks the government to confirm that the employee is a qualifying immigrant is separate from the paperwork that asks the government to issue the greencard (which documents permanent residence status is granted). The request to be labeled an immigrant is the "I-140 Immigrant Petition". The request for the greencard itself is the " Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status".

Additionally, US law creates a bottleneck in the permanent residence process, called 'per-country limits' which occurs directly before the request for the actual greencard - the Form I-485 Application to Adjust Status. The bottleneck is - in most cases - based on the applicant's country of birth (called the country of chargeability). The bottleneck limits the number of applicants from each country of the world who may receive their greencard during any given year. For more information about Per Country Limits see the USCIS webpage. The US Department of State is responsible for 'countrying' the number of immigrants each year, in their " Visa Bulletin".

"Complete" therefore means that everything up to and including the Form I-140 petition has been filed and has been adjudicated by the government. It does not mean the issuance of the greencard because when that happens will vary wildly from person to person.  

How Does the Lengthy Permanent Residence Process Interact with Tenure?

To be eligible for full tenure, international faculty must hold a status in the US that permits indefinite work authorization, such as permanent resident status. Until then, conditional tenure may be granted if the faculty member holds H-1B or O-1 status or has reached a certain stage within the permanent residence process.

May Purdue Employees 'Self-Sponsor' Permanent Residence?

In theory, everyone has the right to hire their own attorney to “self-sponsor” permanent residence. However, US law restricts the process by which petitions are submitted to USCIS requesting permanent residence. In general, requests for employment-based permanent residence must be submitted to USCIS by the employer, as petitioner. The only two exceptions to this are EB-1A “Extraordinary Ability” and EB-2 “National Interest Waiver” processes.

Purdue employees wishing to 'self-sponsor' permanent residence are restricted to the two categories for self-sponsored permanent residence. 

Purdue employees are not permitted to hire their own attorneys for any other permanent residence process; in other words, employees may not hire their own attorney for an EB-1B permanent residence process, for example. Purdue policy strictly requires all Purdue-sponsored immigrant petitions to be processed through and managed by ISS. 

The Final Step to the Permanent Residence Process - Adjustment

Adjustment of Status is solely the responsibility of the faculty member. Purdue policy prohibits Purdue payment for or assistance with Adjustment. Departments may not pay the Adjustment costs of employees. ISS does not assist.

The faculty member must timely pursue Adjustment once eligible to do so or the ability to extend H-1B status might be affected. Permanent residence (greencard) status is not held until the faculty member files his/her Application for Adjustment with the USCIS and the Adjustment application is approved by the USCIS.