Permanent Residence for International Scholars

Many international scholars wish to gain Permanent Resident Status ("green card") to allow them to live and work in the United States for an indefinite period. The three most common ways to obtain permanent residence include:

Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) represents the university with permanent residency cases sponsored by UC Davis. Scholars who chose to seek Permanent Residence through family, lottery, or another way should obtain the services of an immigration attorney to represent them.

Steps to Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card) via Employer Sponsorship

UC Davis files employment-based immigrant visa petitions for international scholars holding permanent academic positions, and who have the support of their campus department. Most petitions are filed under the priority worker category, "Outstanding Professor and Researcher" or through the Labor Certification process. SISS will consult with each department in order to determine the best possible strategy to obtain permanent residency.

Steps for Priority Worker Petition

  1. UC Davis files the I-140 immigrant visa petition along with evidence that the scholar beneficiary meets the eligibility criteria for the Outstanding Professor or Researcher category.
  2. Scholar files the Adjustment of Status (AOS) application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Adjustment application includes Form I-485, and many other forms of documentation. The AOS application may be filed concurrently with the I-140 petition (above). If the applicant wishes to file the adjustment petition concurrently, SISS will provide a copy of the I-140 receipt notice to send with the application. On approval of the AOS application, the actual permanent resident card should arrive in the mail shortly thereafter.
  3. Download Outstanding Researcher and Professor Packet

Steps for DOL Labor Certification Application

  1. UC Davis files the PERM Labor Certification application (ETA-9089) with the DOL following a competitive recruitment in accordance with DOL requirements. "Special Handling" is a specific labor certification category that offers certain advantages to qualifying scholars who hold a position that involves classroom teaching. Special Handling cases must be filed with the DOL within 18 months of the scholar’s date of final selection by UCD and are generally processed more quickly than other labor certification cases.
  2. On receipt of the approved ETA-9089, UC Davis files an I-140 petition with USCIS along with the original approved ETA-9089 from the DOL.
  3. Scholar files the Adjustment of Status (AOS) application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Adjustment application includes Form I-485, and many other forms of documentation. The AOS application may be filed concurrently with the I-140 petition (above). If the applicant wishes to file the adjustment petition concurrently, SISS will provide a copy of the I-140 receipt notice to send with the application. On approval of the AOS application, the actual permanent resident card should arrive in the mail shortly thereafter.

Special Handling Resources

  1. Special Handling Process FAQ
  2. Special Handling Action Timeline

Processing Times

Processing times for each stage of the permanent residence process can vary widely. SISS cannot predict future processing times, so our estimates will always be tentative. Generally, however, the path to permanent residence-from start to finish-will take from 1.5 to 6 years, depending upon filing methods available and government-processing times.

Forms

For all forms, please go to the Department section of the Forms and Handouts tab.

Additional Resources