US Permanent Residence

Cornell Policy

Cornell University files petitions for Legal Permanent Residence (green card) for international academic staff holding permanent academic positions. Postdoctoral Associates or Fellows and those with "Visiting" or "Temporary" in their title are not considered to be permanent employees and do not qualify for Cornell sponsorship. Most Cornell permanent residency petitions utilize the EB-1B Priority Worker category, Outstanding Professors and Researchers. However, in some cases, we may recommend that an applicant pursue permanent residence via Labor Cerification (PERM). In rare occasions, both options may be recommended. Please see a side-by-side comparison of the two employer-based filing methods we utilize.

Permanent Residence Service Fee (paid by hiring unit, not applicant): TBD Please note that this fee does not guarantee approval.

The Office of Global Learning International Services will consult with each applicant in order to determine the best possible path to permanent residency for that individual. Results of that discussion will be communicated to the hiring unit. Interested staff must schedule an appointment to discuss eligibility and filing procedures before International Services will process a permanent residency petition. (Please write "PR Appointment Request" in the subject line, and visa status and university title in the body of the message.)

Please note that Cornell University does not allow outside attorneys to represent the institution in employment-based permanent residency cases except under very limited circumstances. In such circumstances, there is a review and approval process for permission. Please contact the Office of Global Learning for information. Independent/personal methods of filing for US permanent residence include: Family relationship (e.g. marriage to a US citizen); Diversity lottery program; National Interest Waiver (NIW) or Extraordinary Ability.

OPTION 1 - EB-1B  (Outstanding Professor/Researcher)

This filing method requires that a petition containing evidence that the professor or researcher is recognized internationally as outstanding in their academic field must be submitted to USCIS for a determination. Additionally, in order to meet basic eligibility requirements for this category, the applicant must also have at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field. Experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree is only acceptable if the person achieved the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that the applicant had full responsibility for the class taught, or if the research conducted toward the degree had been recognized as outstanding.

The Office of Global Learning provides the following services for eligible candidates:

  • Initial Meeting: Provide instructions to the applicant in how to collect and best arrange evidence for the I-140 petition
  • Draft Review Meeting: Review the collected evidence and provide feedback to the applicant
  • Petition Submission: Complete the I-140 petition and supporting letter and send with applicant-supplied evidence to USCIS. (Applicant/Department pays filing fee of $700, payable to Department of Homeland Security, Department pays PR Service Fee - TBD)
  • Receipt Processing: Scan and send the USCIS I-140 receipt notice to the applicant, with information about next steps
  • Problem-solving: If necessary, respond to any USCIS Request for Evidence or Intent to Deny letters
  • I-485J Form: Prepare employer portion of I-485J and provide to applicant for inclusion in the applicant's I-485 packet
  • Applicant Support: Assist applicant with trouble shooting and recommendations, as needed

Applicant Responsibility: Independently or with outside legal help, prepare form I-485 (Adjustment Petition - $1225) - plus one Adjustment Petition (with fee) for each family member also applying. The Office of Global Learning can recommend an immigration attorney. If this option is exercised, the applicant will be responsible for legal fees (est. $2000 per person).

OPTION 2 - EB-2 (Labor Certification or PERM)

PERM POLICY: The Office of Global Learning will file PERM cases in which the hiring unit's search for the position has been completed and already meets Department of Labor requirements. If a re-test of the US labor market is required, the Office of Global Learning cannot assist departments in conducting new searches and will recommend that the hiring unit pay outside counsel to help manage a search that will meet Department of Labor requirements. In order to succeed, Cornell must show the US Department of Labor that a search that met DOL reqirements was completed. Petitions will be rejected by the DOL if there is any indication that the job advertisement and/or job description were tailored to make only the successful applicant appear qualified.

Applying for permanent residence via Labor Certification (PERM) is complicated and lengthy. There can be significant backlogs for citizens of some countries, making the PERM route impractical for some.

There are two types of PERM petitions:

  1. Special Handling: For professors and teachers only. Teaching must be 20% of job duties. The offer to the successful applicant can not have been made more than 18 months previously, and the evidence must show that the successful applicant was the most qualified. Normal Cornell search requirements generally fall within the standards set by the US DOL for Special Recruitment cases. Application materials should be received by the Office of Global Learning within 12 months of the offer made to the professor or teacher.
  2. Regular Recruitment: For non-teachers. The offer to the successful applicant cannot have been made more than 6 months previously, and the evidence must show that the successful applicant was the only qualified applicant. Normal Cornell search requirements do not meet Department of Labor guidelines. Thus, re-recruiting (or re-test of the Labor Marker) must be done to meet DOL PERM guidelines; use of outside counsel (paid by hiring unit) will be strongly recommended. Application materials must be received by the Office of Global Learning immediately on conclusion of the new recruitment effort.

Labor Certification (PERM) Process

In PERM cases, the applicant may not participate in gathering documentation for the Department of Labor portion of the process. The hiring unit/department is responsible for this (first) step in the process.

The Office of Global Learning provides the following services for eligible candidates:

  • Initial Meeting: Review process, timeline and expectations
  • Department Meeting: Provide instructions, information, and training to the hiring department in how to collect and document evidence for the PERM filing
  • Draft Review: Review the PERM evidence before submission to the Department of Labor. (Office of Global Learning PR Service Fee paid by department at this time.)
  • Petition Submission: Submit the PERM application to the Department of Labor and send the PERM email receipt to the applicant/employee
  • Problem-solving: If necessary, respond to a Department of Labor audit on the case
  • On PERM Approval: Request I-140 support materials (data, support letter, filing fee of $700, payabale to USCIS, CV and diploma) from the applicant
  • Petition Submission: Complete and submit I-140 to USCIS with supporting materials and with original PERM approval
  • Receipt Processing: Scan and email I-140 receipt notice, with information about next steps, to the applicant
  • Problem-solving: If necessary, respond to USCIS Requests for Evidence or Intent to Deny letters
  • I-485J Form: Complete employer portion of I-485J form and provide to applicant for inclusion in applicant's I-485 package
  • Applicant Support: Assist applicant with trouble-shooting and recommendation, as needed

Applicant Responsibility: Independently or with outside legal help prepare Form I-485 (Adjustment Petition - $1225) - plus one Adjustment Petition (with fee) for each family member also applying. The Office of Global Learning can recommend an immigration attorney. If this option is exercised, the applicant will be responsible for legal fees.