Applying for Permanent Residence
Frequently Asked Questions about Applying for Legal Permanent Residence in the US
Can ISSS assist individuals or departments with the Permanent Resident process?
NO. This process is coordinated through Human Resources and the employee's hiring department.
Does my department need to sponsor me?
IT DEPENDS. Depending upon how you wish to file for the green card, you may or may not need to be sponsored by Temple. National Interest Waivers DO NOT require Temple's sponsorship.
For questions regarding Temple University Sponsorship of International Employees and Faculty please contact Karen Ward (for Main Campus Positions) in Human Resources at 215-204-3317 or David Negrin (for Hospital Positions) in TUHS Human Resources at 215-707-7194.
Is US Permanent Residence the same as US Citizenship?
NO. Permanent residents remain nationals of their home country, do not hold U.S. passports or owe allegiance to the U.S and may not vote in elections or hold elective office. After 5 years in most cases (3 in some), permanent residents may choose to apply for US citizenship.
Once I have Permanent Residence, it's impossible to lose it, right?
NO. A permanent residence has the right to live and work in the US without restriction. This right may end in some circumstances by an uninterrupted absence from the United States.
Can anyone apply for Permanent Residence?
NO. Permanent Residence is tightly limited, with preference given to close family members and professional skilled workers. It is possible to become a permanent resident of the US in any of five ways:
- Petition of a close relative
- Approved political asylum
- DV (Diversity) lottery
- Petition of an employer
- US National Interest petition
You may file multiple green card applications at the same time.
What are the employment-based categories?
Priority Workers (EB-1)
(Labor Certification is not necessary)
- Extraordinary ability in arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics
- Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-12)
- Multinational Executives and Managers
Advanced-degree Professionals (EB-2)
(Labor certification is required unless waived "in the national interest")
- Professionals holding advanced degrees (EB-21)
- Employees of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business
Professionals holding basic degrees, Skilled Workers and other Workers (EB-3)
(Labor Certification is required)
- Professionals holding bachelor degrees
- Skilled workers with at least 2 years of training/experience
- Unskilled workers
Special Immigrants (EB-4)
- Includes ministers of religion, religious workers, certain former U.S. government and international organization employees.
- Individual is required to invest at least $1 million in capital and employ 10 or more U.S. workers.
Can I apply for a "green card" and still reenter the US in H-1B status?
YES. H-1B category permits "dual intent," which allows you to continue in H status even if you have begun applying for permanent residency in the U.S. You do not need to prove that you intend to return to your home country.
Does employment-based PR take a long time?
IT DEPENDS. In general, Permanent Residence through Employment is a three-step process:
- The University (through the attorney) files an Application for Permanent Employment Certification ("labor certification") with the Department of Labor (DOL). A provision of the DOL regulations, called "special recruitment," provides unique eligibility requirements for international faculty whose job responsibilities involve some actual classroom teaching. To qualify for special recruitment, the University must file the application for labor certification (Form ETA 9089) within 18 months of the date the foreign candidate was selected as the most qualified candidate for the position. The application will include a detailed report describing the competitive recruitment, a copy of at least one advertisement published in a national professional journal (print, not electronic) and documentation of all other recruitment sources utilized, an in-house posting, copies of relevant appointment papers, and evidence that the salary meets prevailing wage requirements. Recruitment efforts associated with the labor certification process have heightened standards. Occasionally, the Labor Certification Process can be avoided, depending upon the nature of the LPR application.
- Following approval of the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, the University files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with USCIS. The University must show that the employee is qualified for the job, holds the appropriate degrees, and has the required experience as described in the labor certification.
- Upon approval of the immigrant petition, the employee and the employee's spouse and children must each file an application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) with CIS or for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consular post abroad. In some cases, the I-485 may be filed concurrently with the I-140. CIS or the consulate reviews the applications, conducts background checks on all applicants, and finally grants permanent resident status. A few months later, the new permanent residents will be issued their green cards.