Categories For Permanent Residence
Family-based immigration through a close relative (i.e. U.S. citizens sponsor their spouses or qualifying children for permanent residence).
Political asylees, refugees, or other similar relief fall within permanent residence processes.
Nationals of specific countries are eligible to enter a diversity lottery, where names are randomly drawn. Winners of the lottery are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
Immigration sponsored by an employer.
Some individuals do not need to rely on an employer for permanent residence, such as: aliens of extraordinary ability, aliens of exceptional ability in the national interest, aliens as an outstanding professor/researcher (see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] regulations), and investors in U.S. business (usually at least $1 million and the creation of at least 10 jobs).
UVA Sponsorship of U.S. Permanent Residence
Important information about the U.S. Permanent Residence process.
UVA Sponsorship is limited to completion of the I-140. I-485 Adjustment of Status is not sponsored.
Step 1: Permanent Labor Certification
- A test of the U.S. job market to confirm with the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no willing, qualified, and able U.S. workers to fill a foreign national’s position
- Labor certification may not be necessary if the foreign national is of extraordinary or exceptional ability or an outstanding researcher or professor
- UVA is required to first advertise the foreign national’s position and carefully evaluate applications from U.S. workers before filing
- For some positions, UVA may use the national recruitment already conducted in the previous 18 months, which resulted in the hire of the foreign national employee
- A complete recruitment campaign must be run through the University
- At least one advertisement must appear in an appropriate national professional journal (circulated in print)
- Intent of the recruitment campaign must have been to hire a permanent employee
H-1B visas: Candidates for permanent residence may be eligible for an H-1B extension if their permanent labor certification application has been pending for 365 days or more when they reach the six-year maximum
Step 2: Immigrant Visa Petitions (I-140)
This petition states:
- UVA would like to employ a particular foreign national on an indefinite basis
- UVA can pay the wage offered
- why that foreign national is qualified for permanent employment
UVA sponsors permanent residence filings in the following three categories of visa petitions:
- EB-1 - outstanding researchers and professors
- EB-2 - individuals who will be assuming a position that requires at least a master’s degree or equivalent
- EB-3 - Registered Nurses (RNs with advanced nursing degrees fall under the EB-2 category)
H-1B visas: Candidates are eligible for:
- Additional H-1B extensions beyond the six-year maximum (in one-year increments) if their visa petition has been pending for 365 days or more when they reach the six-year maximum
- An additional three years of H-1B status beyond the maximum if they are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition
For many foreign nationals, there is now a wait to apply for permanent residence. They are eligible to apply for permanent residence only if their priority date is current. Foreign nationals
- Establish a priority date when a labor certification application or an I-140 petition is filed for them
- Can keep the priority date of an approved I-140 petition regardless of whether they use that I-140 to apply for permanent residence
- May use the cut-off date for a spouse’s country of birth if that date is better
- For example, individuals born in India might be eligible to apply for permanent residence much sooner if their spouses were born in Canada (this relief is known as cross-chargeability)
Step 3: Adjustment of Status Applications (I-485)
- Please note that the I-485 Adjustment of Status is a self-petition, not a University sponsored action. Filing and attorney fees related to Adjustment of Status are the responsibility of the foreign national applicant.
- This is the application to become a permanent resident
- May be done at a U.S. consulate abroad, but it often makes sense for a foreign national to apply to adjust to permanent resident status while in the U.S.
- Individuals in many types of nonimmigrant visa classifications may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status, but their ability to travel abroad may be limited
- Applicants are eligible to apply for adjustment of status only when there is an immigrant visa number (based on priority date) available for them
- If a number is immediately available, foreign nationals may submit their adjustment of status application (together with any dependents) at the same time that the immigrant visa petition (I-140) is filed
- As part of the adjustment of status application, a foreign national also applies for employment authorization and a travel document (advance parole)
- USCIS charges a flat fee for the I-485 filing, which includes the cost of the employment authorization and travel document (so apply for them even if they are not going to be used)
- The employment authorization and travel document are now renewable, without charge, until the adjustment of status is approved