Overview of Permanent Residency

Permanent Residency, also known as the Green Card, is an immigrant visa status. There are many different paths to obtaining Permanent Residency, but Syracuse University can petition for only specific employment-based categories. The categories of Permanent Residency which are sponsored by Syracuse University are: EB-1 Outstanding Researcher/Professor, EB-2 Advanced Degree Holders, EB-2 Exceptional Ability in the Science, Arts, or Business, and EB-3 Professional or Skilled Worker.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Syracuse University, Slutzker Center for International Services can process Permanent Residency petitions that are based on University employment. Employees who are not eligible for University sponsorship can self-petition for PR through two other categories that do not require employer sponsorship: alien of extraordinary ability (EB1) or the national interest waiver (EB2). SCIS does not provide legal advice to employees on these petitions, and interested individuals should consult with a competent immigration attorney.

Although employees choosing either the extraordinary ability or national interest waiver paths to Permanent Residency may ask supervisors for letters of reference for their petition, departments should make certain that the application is not signed or filed on behalf of the University on the basis of an existing or future position. University employees and departments MAY NOT hire an immigration attorney to file an employer sponsored PR petition, and departments may not endorse any G28 forms related to such cases. Departments with questions or concerns about an employee’s request should contact SCIS.


Permanent Residency is a long process, which is why it is very common for PR applicants to hold a status such as H-1B while filing for Permanent Residency. In some situations, it is best to begin the PR process soon after hiring a new faculty member.

For teaching faculty and instructors, there is an 18-month window after the initial job offer to be able to use the Special Handling option with the Department of Labor. The Special Handling process is detailed in the Labor Certification section of the PR Application.

Depending on the type of application process and the applicant’s country of origin, an applicant for Permanent Residency can wait months or years after the I-140 approval for final approval of Permanent Residency. At times, there are backlogs for some countries and certain categories of petitions for filing the I-485 change-of-status to Permanent Residency application with USCIS. More information about backlogs can be found in the Visa Bulletin: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html. There are no current backlogs for those filing in the EB-1 category. In general, citizens of China and India will experience significant delays for filing for adjustment of status in the EB-2 category. Citizens of all countries who file in the EB-3 category will have a long wait time for filing for adjustment of status.

The Slutzker Center cannot precisely predict the processing times for the petitioning process because times are unpredictable and vary widely with each individual petition. At the very least, the Slutzker Center for International Services recommends that departments and employees begin the Permanent Residency process more than a year in advance of the last date of employment eligibility available to the international employee, especially for employees in H-1B status. An international employee who is in H-1B status may extend beyond the normal 6-year maximum for H-1B status if the H-1B holder has had a Labor Certification application or a PR application on file for at least one calendar year. The Slutzker Center cannot guarantee that USCIS will grant Permanent Residency, and departments must not promise LPR status to any employees.


If the PR applicant is currently in the U.S. in J-Visa status or has previously held J-Visa status, the international employee may be subject to the 212(e) two year home residency requirement. Many times, participation in J-Visa programs require the individual to complete a two-year home residency requirement [212(e) Rule] in the J-Visa holder’s home country. It is sometimes possible for the J-Visa holder to get a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement, but the waiver must be granted before the Slutzker Center for International Services can process the Permanent Residency application.

More information about the waiver requirements and processes are on the U.S. Department of State website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html. It is important to note that once a waiver of the 212(e) two-year home residency requirement has been recommended by the Department of State, the J-Visa holder’s DS-2019 and J-program can no longer be transferred or extended; so the waiver should not be sought unless PR support is guaranteed.


I-140 Fee – Departments are required to pay the $580 I-140 application fee. The employee may not pay this fee.

I-907 Premium Processing Fee – Filing for Premium Processing guarantees a decision on an I-140 case by USCIS within 15 calendar days of receipt. If the department and/or individual requests premium processing, either the department or the employee may pay the additional $1225 fee.

I-485 Adjustment of Status Fee & Civil Surgeon Exams – The I-485 petition to adjust status and the related civil surgeon exam fees are considered to be the responsibility of the employee, not Syracuse University. The current filing fees for the I-485 are $1070 per adult and $635 for each dependent child under 14 years of age who files concurrently with the parent. Civil Surgeon Exam fees vary depending on the Civil Surgeon who performs the exams.