Emory sponsors certain employees for employment-based permanent residency. It is an employer-driven process, so there must be a business need and commitment by the hiring department to sponsor permanent residency for their scholar. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants or green card holders, who are legally accorded the privilege of residing and working permanently in the United States.
- The position must be faculty or faculty equivalent.
- The position must be full-time and permanent (not time-limited or based solely on grant funding).
- The university must intend to employ the scholar indefinitely.
- Emory does not sponsor postdocs because these positions do not meet DHS/DOL standards for permanent positions.
- Ermory typically does not sponsor permanent residency for positions that require only a bachelor's degree because Emory must demonstrate to the DOL that there are no qualified, willing, and able US workers that meet the minimum requirements for the position.
- Emory does not sponsor staff positions, unless a special (rare) exception is made by the department chair and the dean of school.
H-1B is a great non-immigration status that will nicely transition a foreign national's status from that of a non-immigrant to an immigrant (= permanent resident). But the permanent residency application process should begin no later than Year 4.5 of their 6-year H-1B period. That way, they can extend H-1B employment beyond their 6th year while permanent residency is pending.
Emory files petitions for permanent residency in 3 categories:
EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher: This category is limited to those who have risen to the very top of their field. They must be internationally recognized as a leader in the field, and must be able to prove this through awards, publications, and attestations from other experts. This category does not require a labor certification.
EB-2 Special Handling for College and University Teachers: This category is specific to those who will be teaching courses at the college/university level. It requires a labor certification, but the recruitment requirements are less than those for a standard EB-2.
EB-2 Standard Filing: This category is for individuals who will not be teaching courses, and who do not qualify for the EB-1 category. It requires a labor certification process than is handled by an outside law firm, and the recruitment process is complex and time consuming. The department is responsible for paying the recruitment expenses as well.
Depending on the category that the scholar is qualified for (EB-1, EB-2, etc.), the permanent residency process can vary widely. Steps might include recruitment according to Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines, filing labor certification with the DOL, filing Form I-140 with USCIS, and adjustment of status. The process should begin as soon as possible after the scholar is hired.
The hiring department will receive invoices for fees and expenses, and should initiate all steps except for the adjustment of status, which is the scholar's responsibility.
Applying for permanent residency won't affect an H-1B employee's ability to travel, apply for an H-1B visa stamp, and return to the US in H-1B status while their permanent residency application is pending.
For employees in other statuses, there are potential risks involved in traveling abroad while a permanent residency application is pending. They should talk to their ISSS advisor before making any travel arrangements.
ISSS has exclusive authorization to file permanent residency petitions on behalf of Emory University. Outside attorneys are not authorized to file employment-based permanent residency petitions on Emory's behalf except in extraordinary circumstances. If an outside attorney is used without the prior knowledge and consent of ISSS, the petition will be withdrawn immediately, even if filing fees or attorney's fees have already been paid.
ISSS and the Office of General Counsel will determine whether a particular case warrants use of an outside attorney. Unusual or extraordinary circumstances typically mean either a complex case requiring an unusual amount of time to prepare or a case requiring expedited handling.