Permanent Residence for International Faculty
Definition and Background
A U.S. permanent resident is someone lawfully admitted to the U.S. on a permanent basis, informally known as a “green card” holder. An individual can become a permanent resident through several avenues; two of the most common are:
- Close family relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident which qualifies in one of the family-based preference categories
- Having education, skills or talents which are in demand in the U.S. and which qualify in one of the employment-based or profession-related preference categories. In this category, there are two sub-groups: those that require an employer sponsor and those that do not.
Applications for permanent residence are made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See the USCIS website for more information at.
Policies on Permanent Resident Sponsorship
PSU assists only with employment-based permanent residence petitions and only in those employment-based categories that require an employer sponsor. PSU sponsors individuals for permanent residence in the following employment-based preference categories (briefly summarized below):
- Outstanding Professor or Researcher (EB-1)
- Advanced Degree Holder (EB-2, Special Handling only)
EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher
- Recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area, as demonstrated through publications, research contribution, and participation as the judge of the work of others in the field, etc.
- Minimum of 3 years’ experience in the field
- Tenured/tenure-track position or permanent research position
- Must be employed full-time
Notes on EB-1
- Appropriate for scholars who are some years past his/her terminal degree and who have an exceptional record of scholarly achievement in his or her field, as evidenced by significant publication and research records.
- No labor certification required.
EB-2 Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees (Teaching Faculty)
- Must have teaching duties that involve classroom teaching
- Must have been selected through open search process
- Must meet prevailing wage
- Must meet Dept of Labor criteria for selection
- Permanent, full-time position
Notes on EB-2
- Appropriate for recently hired individuals, as PSU must file a Labor Certification application within 18 months of decision to hire.
- A print ad in a national journal must have been placed during the recruiting process.
The Office of International Affairs, in consultation with the hiring department, determines whether an individual may be sponsored by Portland State University under these guidelines, and if so under which category.
Authority to Sign Petitions for Permanent Residence based on PSU Employment
The Office of International Affairs is responsible for handling employer-sponsored permanent residence petitions on behalf of PSU. OIA is the only authorized petitioner/signatory to USCIS for permanent residence petitions based on PSU employment. Only designated individuals in OIA may sign the Labor Certification (ETA-9089) and the I-140.
Overview of Procedures
- Labor Certification (for EB-2 petitions only). PSU files a Labor Certification application with the Department of Labor. See page 6 for more details.
- I-140 – Petition for an Immigrant Worker. After receiving documentation from the hiring department (EB-2 Special Handling) or the beneficiary (EB-1), the I-140 Petition for an Immigrant Worker is filed by PSU. After the I-140 has been approved by USCIS, PSU’s role in the process is complete.
- I-485 – Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. In the final adjustment of status phase, the scholar must self-petition the USCIS by filing his/her own adjustment paperwork requesting to change from nonimmigrant to immigrant status on form I-485. Because this is considered to be the applicant’s own personal petition, PSU may not assist with the process. Applicants may consult a private attorney during this phase of the process if they wish.
Options to self-petition without PSU sponsorship
There are several employment-based petitions that do not require an employer’s support and are thus considered self-petitions. They may be filed through an outside immigration attorney without need for PSU’s approval or involvement. The outside attorney may only represent the petitioner and his/her dependents and may not represent PSU.
A PSU employee may self-petition (apply to USCIS on his or her own behalf) for permanent residence in the following two employment-based categories, as these categories require neither a job offer nor the signature of any PSU representative:
- EB-1 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability: In this category, the individual is one who has risen to the top 5% in his/her academic field and must demonstrate this by documenting sustained acclaim and achievements.
- EB-2 Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees – National Interest Waiver. Under the National Interest Waiver, the requirement of a labor certification and the job offer letter are waived if the skills and qualifications of the individual and the services the individual can provide to the US are determined to be in the national interest.
Portland State University is not involved in filing these two types of petitions, nor can a PSU employee (other than the self-petitioner) sign these documents. An individual may choose to hire an immigration attorney to assist in self-petitioning but PSU funds may not be used to pay for self-petitions.