Permanent Residence

Permanent residence processes fall within the following four categories:


  • Immigration through a close relative (i.e. U.S. citizens sponsor their spouses or qualifying children for permanent residence)


  • Immigration sponsored by an employer
  • Some individuals do not need to rely on an employer, such as
    • aliens of extraordinary ability
    • aliens of exceptional ability in the national interest
    • aliens as an outstanding professor/researcher (see U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] regulations)
    • investors in U.S. business (usually at least $1 million and the creation of at least 10 jobs)

Diversity Lottery

  • Nationals of specific countries are eligible to enter a lottery, where names are randomly drawn
  • Winners of the lottery are eligible to apply for permanent residence

Political Asylee or Refugee or other similar relief

UVA Sponsorship of U.S. Permanent Residence

Step 1: Permanent Labor Certification

  • A test of the U.S. job market to confirm with the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no willing, qualified, and able U.S. workers to fill a foreign national’s position
  • Labor certification may not be necessary if the foreign national is of extraordinary or exceptional ability or an outstanding researcher or professor
  • UVA is required to first advertise the foreign national’s position and carefully evaluate applications from U.S. workers before filing
  • For some positions, UVA may use the national recruitment already conducted in the previous 18 months, which resulted in the hire of the foreign national employee
    • A complete recruitment campaign must be run through the University
    • At least one advertisement must appear in an appropriate national professional journal (circulated in print)
    • Intent of the recruitment campaign must have been to hire a permanent employee

H-1B visas: Candidates for permanent residence may be eligible for an H-1B extension if their permanent labor certification application has been pending for 365 days or more when they reach the six-year maximum

Step 2: Immigrant Visa Petitions (I-140)

This petition states

  • UVA would like to employ a particular foreign national on an indefinite basis
  • UVA can pay the wage offered
  • why that foreign national is qualified for permanent employment

UVA sponsors permanent residence filings in the following three categories of visa petitions

  • EB-1 - outstanding researchers and professors (see left menu above)
  • EB-2 - individuals who will be assuming a position that requires at least a master’s degree or equivalent
  • EB-3 - Registered Nurses (RNs with advanced nursing degrees fall under the EB-2 category)

H-1B visas: Candidates are eligible for

  • additional H-1B extensions beyond the six-year maximum (in one-year increments) if their visa petition has been pending for 365 days or more when they reach the six-year maximum
  • an additional three years of H-1B status beyond the maximum if they are the beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa petition

Priority Dates

For many foreign nationals, there is now a wait to apply for permanent residence. They are eligible to apply for permanent residence only if their priority date is current. Foreign nationals

  • establish a priority date when a labor certification application or an I-140 petition is filed for them
  • can keep the priority date of an approved I-140 petition regardless of whether they use that I-140 to apply for permanent residence
  • may use the cut-off date for a spouse’s country of birth if that date is better
    • for example, individuals born in India might be eligible to apply for permanent residence much sooner if their spouses were born in Canada (this relief is known as cross-chargeability)

Step 3: Adjustment of Status Applications (I-485)

  • This is the application to become a permanent resident
  • May be done at a U.S. consulate abroad, but it often makes sense for a foreign national to apply to adjust to permanent resident status while in the U.S.
  • Individuals in many types of nonimmigrant visa classifications may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status, but their ability to travel abroad may be limited
  • Applicants are eligible to apply for adjustment of status only when there is an immigrant visa number (based on priority date) available for them
  • If a number is immediately available, foreign nationals may submit their adjustment of status application (together with any dependents) at the same time that the immigrant visa petition (I-140) is filed
  • As part of the adjustment of status application, a foreign national also applies for employment authorization and a travel document (advance parole)
    • USCIS charges a flat fee for the I-485 filing, which includes the cost of the employment authorization and travel document (so apply for them even if they are not going to be used)
  • The employment authorization and travel document are now renewable, without charge, until the adjustment of status is approved