U.S. Permanent Residency

For WSU-sponsored employees

Federal regulations provide that only permanent/continuous full-time positions are eligible for employment-based, employer-sponsored U.S. permanent residence. By WSU policy, these are faculty positions with teaching and research duties; these include, but are not limited to, tenure, tenure-track, and teaching career-track positions. IP-ISSS is the only authorized office within the university to petition for employment-based immigration benefits.

Sponsorship for permanent residence must be made in the best interests of the university’s teaching and research needs. The decision should not in any way be viewed as a goodwill gesture or undertaken to facilitate a personal desire for U.S. permanent residence. Departments must be able to substantiate firm funding with an expectation of unlimited duration into the future. The provost or his or her designee, deans, and chairs/directors of departments must sign as authorized signatory in all letters of a job offer for U.S. employment-based, employer-sponsored petitions. Such job offer letters should be reviewed by IP-ISSS before being finalized. A job offer letter shall state that ongoing employment is subject to the faculty manual, state and federal law, and WSU policy. Please contact ip.scholars@wsu.edu for detailed information about the process, timelines, and costs associated with this sponsorship.

This process should not be confused with a work visa sponsorship process (e.g., H-1B, J-1, etc.). Work visas and U.S. permanent residence processes are independent from one another. A department might need to sponsor both petitions separately to maintain legal employment of a sponsored, permanent employee.

WSU departments/units have the option but not the obligation to sponsor an employee for permanent residency. An employer has no legal obligation to sponsor an employment-based, employer-sponsored U.S. permanent residence (Green Card) application. If a WSU unit agrees and the Provost’s Office approves such a sponsorship, it will involve the filing and approval of two distinct immigrant petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the actual Green Card is received:

  • Form I-140 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (employer/sponsor petition)
  • Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (personal application)

Washington State University IP-ISSS will petition only for the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker in the process of employment-based, employer-sponsored U.S. permanent residence as it is the form related to an employment-based filing. The form I-485 is considered a personal application and is therefore not prepared by IP-ISSS.

Employment-based U.S. permanent residence applications sponsored by WSU

CategoryRequire employer sponsorship?Require a permanent, full-time job?Require a U.S. Department of Labor Certification?
EB-1B Outstanding Professor/ReseacherYes, WSU sponsoredYesNo
EB-2 Advanced Degree holder (except National Interest Waiver (NIW))Yes, WSU sponsoredYesYes
EB-2 Advanced Degree holder, NIWNo, not sponsored by WSUNoNo
EB-1A Extraordinary AbilityNo, not sponsored by WSUNoNo

Individuals can apply for and obtain U.S. permanent residency through personal applications in the United States under any visa category. Ask International Student and Scholar Services for guidance if you have general questions, but we highly recommend individuals retain a credible immigration attorney to assist with their personal applications.

How to apply

1. Permanent labor certification

Issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, permanent labor certification lets your employer hire you to work permanently in the United States. This document certifies that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job that you intend to accept. It also certifies that, if you were hired, the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers in similar jobs would not be adversely affected.

Your employer must apply for a permanent labor certification on your behalf. You cannot apply yourself. If you are employed at WSU, ask your hiring department to consult with International Student and Scholar Services.

2. Form I-140

This form, known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is used to request that USCIS confer an immigrant visa based on employment. Your U.S. employer must file this petition on your behalf.

3. Apply for permanent residence

If you are physically present in the United States, you can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You can file this form for yourself and your family within the United States.

If you are outside the United States, you can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. This is known as “consular processing.”

Additional applications and requirements at this stage: