Updated: February 15, 2017
Georgetown University sponsors certain faculty, researchers and specialized staff for Permanent Residency. The following criteria must be met for an individual to be sponsored:
- The individual must have been employed by Georgetown for at least one year. This one-year waiting period is not required by federal immigration laws; it is a University policy. This requirement is waived for tenure-line positions.
- The position must be permanent in nature and must be full time. (Students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, temporary and part-time employees are not eligible for sponsorship.)
- The individual must already be employed in this permanent position. Pending promotions must actually be finalized before the paperwork will be processed.
- The position must require at least a Master’s degree and specialized training and knowledge.
- The Department must intend to employ the individual for at least three more years. Funding for the position for a three-year period must be guaranteed. The green card sponsorship process may take at least three years, and the job should be available to the applicant at the end of this process.
- The approval of the Department Chair, Supervisor and Department Administrator must be obtained. Although general information regarding green card procedures and categories may be discussed beforehand, the Office of Global Services (OGS) will not initiate Georgetown-sponsored permanent residency applications until approval is received from the Department.
- The Department must cover all advertising costs and the I-140 immigrant petition fee.
Please note that Human Resources and/or Faculty policies with regard to employment apply, and nothing in this policy implies otherwise.
All paperwork related to Georgetown-sponsored permanent residency must go through OGS to ensure accuracy and consistency of University information that is sent to the U.S. government. Upon approval by OGS, the University department may choose to hire an attorney to file the paperwork. However, all paperwork must be approved by and sent to the U.S. government by OGS. Immigration paperwork signed by faculty supervisors or principal investigators without approval from both OGS and the Department Chair is not considered valid documentation.
The Sponsorship Process
There are four categories used by Georgetown to seek permanent residency for its employees: Alien of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professor/ Researcher, National Interest Waiver and Labor Certification. For specific eligibility requirements, please see the Permanent Residency Request Forms. There are two or three steps in applying for permanent residency, depending on the classification being requested.
Labor Certification is a process designed to establish to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) that the permanent employment of a foreign national will not take away a job from a minimally qualified U.S. worker. This process involves placing advertisements as well as the evaluation of the responses. The Department is responsible for all advertising costs. If a minimally qualified U.S. citizen, permanent resident, refugee or asylee responds to one of the advertisements, OGS cannot file a Labor Certification Application as we cannot make the claim that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers available to do the job. There is a special provision for Labor Certifications for teaching faculty which allows the employer to document the search process and demonstrate that the faculty was the most qualified. The deadline for filing this application is 18 months from the date of the offer letter.
Labor Certification alone may take eight to twelve months. This step may be bypassed if filing under the Outstanding Professor/Researcher, Alien of Extraordinary Ability or National Interest Waiver categories.
OGS files an I-140 Immigrant Petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting to classify the employee in one of the employment-based green card categories. If the classification being sought requires Labor Certification, this petition may not be filed until Labor Certification has been approved. The Department is required to pay the filing fee.
The employee and their dependents file I-485 Adjustment of Status applications with USCIS. In some cases, the Adjustment of Status application may be filed concurrently with the immigrant petition.
This is not a University application, and OGS cannot provide legal advice regarding this process. OGS is able to provide only basic guidance on this part of the process since it is the employee's personal application.
USCIS will communicate directly with the employee regarding these applications. As part of this process, the employee will be interviewed at the local USCIS office. Upon approval of the application(s), the employee obtains a Permanent Residence card, or green card.
Permanent Residency Request Forms
Once the employment-based category that will be pursued has been determined by the supervisor, Department chair, and OGS, the Department and employee must complete the appropriate forms to begin the process.
Maintaining Permanent Residency
For information on maintaining Permanent Residency status, visit the USCIS site. Additionally, there is a helpful article on the rights and responsibilities of Permanent Residents on Klasko Immigration and Nationality Law firm’s site.
Renewing Your Green Card
For information on renewing your green card, visit the USCIS website.
Applying for U.S. Citizenship
For information on applying for U.S. citizenship, visit the USCIS website.