Becoming a Permanent U.S. Resident
UC International Services offers immigrant visa processing assistance to all campuses. We will meet with all full-time faculty and professional staff, teaching and non-teaching, to discuss options for permanent residence, and will endeavor to assist in the immigrant visa process whenever possible. The University will provide full immigrant visa services for teaching faculty (actual classroom teaching must be involved) and non-teaching permanent professional positions requiring labor certification. Departments should not use outside counsel. However, if permission to use outside counsel is granted by our office, the hiring department must pay all attorney fees. It’s a violation of Department of Labor regulations to have the international employee either reimburse the University for legal fees or to pay the fees directly.
UC International Services will not provide immigration assistance for applications based upon the Outstanding Researchers or Professors category, National Interest Waivers (NIW’s), marriage to a U.S. citizen or other family based sponsorships, or the visa diversity lottery. International employees who desire to apply for these categories should use outside legal counsel to help process the petition.
In order to qualify for permanent residence, the position must be full-time and defined as permanent by UC. A permanent position is one that does not have a definite termination point defined either by a date or the completion of a project or assignment, is not seasonal or intermittent, and is not presently intended or contemplated by the department to have some specified end date in the future. Please note that postdoctoral fellowships and "visiting" positions of any kind are not considered permanent by the university.
Before beginning this process, both the employee and his/her supervisor should make an appointment with UC International Services to discuss the procedure and specific requirements. If it is determined that the job and the employee meet the criteria for one of the permanent resident categories, UC International will work with the department to ensure that the minimum job requirements and offered salary are in compliance with Department of Labor standards and formulate the appropriate advertising efforts.
All permanent resident requests should be submitted electronically through UC International Services' iStart database. To submit a Permanent Resident request please do the following:
- Go to https://ibearcatsglobal.uc.edu.
- Click on the "Administrative Services for University Departments" link.
- Enter and submit your University 6+2 login information.
- Click on the “Departmental Services” link from the menu.
- If you don’t already have iBearcatsGlobal access you will need to click the “Departmental Access Request” link.
- Once you have department access you will click the “Permanent Residence” link to start the process. There is a link for teaching positions and non-teaching positions.
- Follow all instructions and provide all the requested information. Scan and upload (or fax) the required supporting documents in PDF format.
The Application Process
The permanent residency process for faculty and professional positions generally entails three phases. UC International Services assists with all three steps, which are:
- Labor Certification,
- UC’s filing of an I-140 petition requesting an immigrant visa for the foreign national once the Labor Certification Application is approved, and
- The foreign national’s filing of an I-485 application to adjust status to permanent residence.
The I-140 and I-485 filings are addressed in more detail in separate UC International Services memos. Outstanding Professors and Researchers are exempt from the labor certification process. See the UC International Services memo setting forth the specific requirements and supporting documentation required for I-140 filings based upon the Outstanding Professor and Researcher category for further detail.
It is essential that attention is paid to Labor Certification Application (LCA) filing deadlines with respect to requisite advertising time frames and the foreign national’s ability to preserve work eligibility and/or a non-immigrant status such as H-1B. For example, in order to request additional H-1B time beyond the initial six year limit, the LCA must be filed before the end of the fifth year of H-1B status. If no LCA is required, the I-140 must be filed prior to the end of the fifth year of H-1B status.
Immigrant visas are allotted by the Department of State based upon the type of employment and the foreign national’s country of birth. Information as to availability of immigrant visa numbers is provided in the Department of State’s monthly Visa Bulletin. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. If there are more applicants than available visas, the category is considered to be oversubscribed. If that is the case, a “priority date” is listed for the backlogged category, meaning that only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted an immigrant visa number. The foreign national’s priority date is the date on which the LCA is filed, or if an LCA is not necessary, the date of the I-140 filing. An I-485 application cannot be filed (or if pending, adjudicated) if the foreign national’s priority date is not current.