The International and Postdoctoral Services Office (IPSO) has prepared this information
to assist Augusta University Colleges/departments in evaluating a candidate and position
for sponsorship for permanent residency and how to facilitate the permanent residency
process for adjudication by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). If you
have any questions or need additional information, please call IPSO at (706) 721-0670.
What does it mean to have a "green card"?
A “green card” is a euphemism for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. Persons
who hold this status are permitted to remain in the U.S. indefinitely and to live
and work wherever they wish. In general LPR's have the same rights, privileges, and
responsibilities as U.S. citizens. LPR's may buy and sell property, own and operate
businesses, and may be drafted into the military if a draft is in effect. A few rights,
privileges, and duties do not apply. LPR's may not vote in government elections, nor
serve on juries at trials, nor hold some elected offices or government jobs.
How does one obtain lawful permanent resident status?
There are three general avenues to LPR status. All three methods involve complex procedures,
are time intensive in preparation and can take months to years before adjudication
- Close family relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR which qualifies in one of the family-based
- 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 preferences;
- Humanitarian applicants.
- IPSO is charged to serve the Colleges/departments, centers and institutes of Augusta
University. As such we only provide services for certain Employer Sponsored petitions
(#2. above). Other options for permanent residency may be available to employees to
pursue on their own through a qualified immigration attorney. At a college’s/department's
request, IPSO is happy to review the immigration circumstances of an employee and
provide an assessment of immigration options.
Employer sponsored petitions
Sponsorship for permanent residency is available for faculty positions and select
permanent staff positions requiring a minimum of a master's degree. Due to limited
resources, IPSO only provides services for two of the employment-based categories
for permanent residency. Please note that not all employees and positions are eligible
for both options.
- Advanced Degree Professional (ADP)
- Outstanding Professor/Researcher (OPR)
ADVANCED DEGREE PROFESSIONAL PETITIONS
For an Advanced Degree Professional petition, an alien must have a labor certification
from the Department of Labor (DOL) confirming that there are not sufficient qualified
and available U.S. workers to perform the job and that it is therefore necessary to
import a non-U.S. worker for that purpose. The employer files the labor certification
on behalf of the non-U.S. worker. If the lawful permanent resident status is based
on a job offer, the non-U.S. worker must, in fact, take the job and work in it for
some period of time after obtaining lawful permanent resident status. If the job is not available or the non-U.S. worker does not take the job, questions
of visa fraud arise.
The Advanced Degree Professional process has three requirements which must be met:
- The job must be permanent or have the potential to continue indefinitely. A current
job that cannot withstand a lengthy processing time and continue beyond it should
not be used as a basis for labor certification. For example, a position which is offered for only two years and that is not considered
by the employer to be indefinite is not permanent by immigration standards. A position
that can be on-going and for which the employer believes there will continue to be
funding may be considered permanent. The permanent character of the position must
apply to a future job offered after lawful permanent resident status is granted.
- The department must be willing to undertake re-recruitment procedures to test the
labor market. Augusta University must advertise the position using hardcopy or online publications
and text acceptable to the DOL, and may eliminate U.S. workers only for lawful, job-related
reasons. For non-teaching positions there must be no qualified and available U.S. workers. For teaching faculty there must be no equally qualified U.S. workers.
- The job must be available on the date in the future when the non-U.S. worker is granted
lawful permanent resident status.
For select faculty, the outstanding professor or researcher category may be an option.
The category requires the petitioner to establish the following, by a preponderance
of the evidence submitted:
- The beneficiary is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic
- The beneficiary has at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the
academic field, and
- The beneficiary has a job offer from the petitioning employer for:
- a tenured position (or tenure-track position) within a university or institution of
higher education to teach in the academic field
- a comparable permanent position with a university or institution of higher education
to conduct research in the academic field, or
- a comparable permanent position to conduct research in the academic field with a department,
division, or institute of a private employer, if the department, division, or institution
employs at least 3 persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented
accomplishments in an academic field.
- The outstanding professor/researcher category requires significant gathering of documents by the employee/applicant and considerable
participation by the College Dean, department supervisor and/or department chair.
How much does sponsorship cost?
By regulation, the labor certification aspects of the ADP/PERM path to permanent residency must be paid by the employer. The sponsoring department should expect $2,000 to $4,000
in fees and expenses.