Emory Policies and Procedures

Emory University sponsors employment-based immigrant petitions only at the request of the employing department, and only for individuals appointed to full-time faculty, faculty equivalent, or professional positions requiring an advanced degree or its equivalent and of a permanent nature. For purposes of this policy, positions such as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Full Professor, Lecturer, Research Associate, Instructor, or any professional staff position requiring an advanced degree or its equivalent would qualify for sponsorship by Emory University. Appointment to a faculty, faculty equivalent, or professional position requiring an advanced degree or its equivalent at Emory University is an indication that the individual's skills are essential to the function of the institution and reflects an institutional intention to employ the individual indefinitely, and that the position is not time-limited by grants or other funding.

The ISSS staff will file the following employment-based immigrant petitions: Employment-based First Preference Outstanding Researchers/Professors, Employment-based Second Preference Advanced Degree Professionals with Labor Certification under Standard Filing or Special Handling. The ISSS staff is responsible for determining whether an individual may be sponsored by Emory University under these guidelines, and if so under which category. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis after consultation with the dean of the school. Exceptional cases must demonstrate unusual or extraordinary circumstances to warrant sponsorship.

Emory University Policy: Applications That Are Not Sponsored

The ISSS staff will neither prepare nor sign immigrant petitions for Postdoctoral Fellows, because these positions do not meet USCIS standard for permanent positions. See "Alternatives" below.

The ISSS staff will not normally file petitions for employment-based third preference. Third-preference petitions are filed for positions requiring a bachelor's degree. In seeking labor certification for an employee, Emory University must demonstrate to the Department of Labor that there are no qualified U.S. workers who meet the minimum qualifications for position offered. According to the Department of Labor, an abundance of U.S. workers are available for positions that would be classified in the third preference category. Therefore, Emory University will not normally file petitions in the third preference category.

Alternatives for Individuals Who Cannot be Sponsored Under the Emory University Policy

For certain categories of immigrant petitions, individuals do not need employer sponsorship. The petitions may be approved based upon the individual petitioners own qualifications and accomplishments. The petitioners must establish that they have made significant contributions to the field of specialization, are easily employed in the field, and/or their contributions to the field the U.S. are of national benefit. Individuals who wish to "self-petition" in an immigrant category that does not require a full-time offer of employment are strongly encouraged to seek the services of a professional attorney who is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law.

Immigrant Application Process

Once an application for alien employment certification has been certified by the U.S. Department of Labor (if labor certification is required), an employer files the immigrant visa petition. Simultaneously, the beneficiary and each eligible family member files an application to "adjustment status" on Form I-485 with USCIS. If consular processing is desired, the immigrant petition must be approved before an application for an immigrant visa (Packet 3) can be made to the National Visa Center or to the U.S. Consulate where the immigrant visa will be obtained. Normally, persons who are already in the United States apply to adjustment status while persons outside the U.S. apply for consular processing. However, a person who is in the U.S. can also apply for consular processing, but must leave the U.S. for an interview and to obtain the immigrant visa. The employee files either the I-485 petition or Packet 3; ISSS, however, will assist in the review of documents to be filed at this final stage of the process. Further information and forms are available on the USCIS web site at: http://www.immigration.gov . For immigrant visa applications, further information is available at the web site of the National Visa Center, http://travel.state.gov/nvc.html, or the consulate where the application is to be filed.

Use of Outside Attorneys

Outside attorneys are not authorized to file employment-based immigration petitions on behalf of Emory University, except in unusual or extraordinary cirsumstances. ISSS has been designated as the office with exclusive authority to file these petitions. If an outside attorney is used for an employment-based immigration petition without the prior knowledge and consent of ISSS, the petition will be withdrawn immediately, even if filing fees and/or attorney’s fees have already been paid. This is extremely important to ensure that the best interests of Emory University are represented in each filing. It may be possible to refile the petition through ISSS, but this would be determined on a case-by-case basis. ISSS recognizes, however, that under unusual or extraordinary circumstances an outside attorney may be required to file an employment-based immigration petition on behalf of Emory University. ISSS, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will determine whether a particular case warrants use of an outside attorney. Unusual or extraordinary circumstances will typically mean either a complex case requiring an unusual amount of time to prepare or a case requiring expedited handling.

When an outside attorney is used, ISSS will review and sign the petition and Form G-28 on behalf of the University to insure compliance with all University sponsorship guidelines. ISSS advisors are the only individuals authorized to sign the petition and the Form G-28. All fees for such a case are the responsibility of either the employing department or the beneficiary of the immigrant petition.