Permanent Residency for International Faculty


Definition and Background

A U.S. permanent resident is someone lawfully admitted to the U.S. on a permanent basis, informally known as a “green card” holder. An individual can become a permanent resident through several avenues; two of the most common are:
  • Close family relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident which qualifies in one of the family-based preference categories
  • Having education, skills or talents which are in demand in the U.S. and which qualify in one of the employment-based or profession-related preference categories. In this category, there are two sub-groups: those that require an employer sponsor and those that do not.
Applications for permanent residence are made to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). See the USCIS website for more information.

Policies on Permanent Resident Sponsorship

University of Alaska Anchorage assists only with employment-based permanent residence petitions and only in those employment-based categories that require an employer sponsor. UAA sponsors individuals for permanent residence in the following employment-based preference categories (briefly summarized below):
  • Outstanding Professor or Researcher (EB-1)
  • Advanced Degree Holder (EB-2, Special Handling only)
UAA support is limited to providing letters of recommendation or support by the sponsoring school, college or institute and department required to accompany the petition and information needed for required labor certifications. Departments are responsible for all costs associated with the filing of a labor certification, to include but not limited to advertising and attorney fees, as required under U.S. labor and immigration regulations. Support does not obligate UA, UAA or any of its subunits to file the labor certification or to provide any funding towards the petition other than that required under federal regulations. Any additional legal and/or immigration filing fees incurred are the individual’s.

The University of Alaska Anchorage restricts this process to faculty and researchers in positions requiring the PhD or terminal degree in the field, and to information technology specialists supporting academic computing and networking. Additionally, only individuals appointed to full-time or tenure-track positions will be considered for support of the permanent residency status. All UA and UAA policies and regulations regarding recruitment must be followed. As such, direct appointments are not be eligible for UAA support. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be submitted to the Provost through the International Faculty and Staff Services prior to the processing of the permanent residency request.

EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher

Requirements
  • Recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area, as demonstrated through publications, research contribution, and participation as the judge of the work of others in the field, etc.
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience in the field
  • Tenured/tenure-track position or permanent research position
  • Must be employed full-time
Notes on EB-1
  • Appropriate for scholars who are some years past his/her terminal degree and who have an exceptional record of scholarly achievement in his or her field, as evidenced by significant publication and research records.
  • No labor certification required.
EB-2 Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees (Teaching Faculty)

Requirements
  • Must have teaching duties that involve classroom teaching
  • Must have been selected through open search process
  • Must meet prevailing wage
  • Must meet Dept of Labor criteria for selection
  • Permanent, full-time tenure-track position
Notes on EB-2
  • Appropriate for recently hired individuals, as UAA must file a Labor Certification application within 18 months of decision to hire.
  • A print ad in a national journal must have been placed for 30 days during the recruiting process.
The International Faculty and Staff Services office, in consultation with the hiring department, determines whether an individual may be sponsored by University of Alaska Anchorage under these guidelines, and if so under which category.

Authority to Sign Petitions for Permanent Residence based on UAA Employment

The International Faculty and Staff Services office is responsible for handling employer-sponsored permanent residence petitions on behalf of UAA. IFSS is the only authorized petitioner/signatory to USCIS for permanent residence petitions based on UAA employment. Only designated individuals in IFSS may sign the Labor Certification (ETA-9089) and the I-140.

Overview of Responsibilities

Departmental Responsibilities

Provide:
  • Copy of position description and copy of print advertisement used during the recruitment process.
NOTE: Under immigration regulation 656.18 and UA Procedures Optional special recruitment and documentation procedures for college and university teachers,
  • A copy of at least one print advertisement for the job opportunity placed in a national professional journal for 30 days, giving the name and the date(s) of publication; and which states the job title, duties and requirements must be included with the application.
  • The position posting is set up in UAKjobs as an external recruitment.
  • Copy of the current contract letter
Please note that under U.S. immigration regulations, if a U.S. citizen has applied for the position and meets the qualifications, that person must be offered the position. A foreign national may be offered the position if there are no U.S. citizens ready, willing and able to take the position. If teaching responsibilities are not outlined specifically in the contract letter, those responsibilities should be specifically mentioned in this letter.

NOTE: Under current U.S. immigration and Department of Labor regulations, employers must pay all costs associated with the filing of labor certifications which are required under the Employment-based second preference category.

Employee Information and Responsibility
  • Copy of passport, visa and I-94 (if individual is currently in the U.S.).
  • Contact information for the attorney who will be assisting the individual with the permanent residency and Adjustment of Status applications if one is to be used. This attorney is selected from the General Counsel’s approved list of immigration attorneys.
IFSS Responsibility
  • The IFSS serves as a resource in the compilation of materials.
  • After the authorized approval has been received by the campus representative, a G-28 is issued to the contracted law firm to complete the application for labor certification and the immigrant petition. This is signed by the MAU authorized signer.
  • Performs a review of all items submitted and forwards them to the attorney.
  • For applications requiring Department of Labor, Labor Certification, notification will be done in coordination with the employee’s attorney.