Permanent Residency Information for Employees

Permanent Residence for International Faculty Members

Appalachian State University is committed to providing permanent residence, “Green Card,” sponsorship to eligible and qualifying employees. For more information about eligibility please consult our official policy. If you wish to obtain Permanent Resident status through any manner that does not necessitate employer sponsorship, please consult an immigration attorney.

There are three ways that Appalachian can support qualifying faculty members for Permanent Residence. The majority of Appalachian faculty members are sponsored for permanent residency in the EB-2 category). In rare cases an EB-1 or EB-3 category may be used to sponsor an employee.

  •  Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability (EB-2 category) This is the category used for the majority of foreign nationals sponsored by Appalachian. The requirements to qualify for this category are:
    • The faculty member must have some percentage of teaching responsibilities
    • The advertisement for the position must have appeared in a print ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education or in an online national or international appropriate professional journal for a period of at least 30 days.
    • The application must be submitted to Department of Labor within 18 months of the date of the initial job offer.
  • Skilled Worker or Professional (EB-3 category) The requirements for this category are:  
    • Possession of a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign national equivalent that is normal for entry into the profession.
    • Must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S.
    • Education and experience may not be substituted for baccalaureate degree.
  •  Outstanding Professor/Researcher (EB-1 category)
    • This category is for individuals with a long record of publication, research, conference participation and international recognition by other experts in their field. Applications are filed directly with USCIS. Eligibility for this category  is very rare and will be determined by OIED in collaboration with the University of North Carolina General Administration’s Division of Legal Affairs.

 Process and Timeline for Acquiring Permanent Residence

  1. Following the  first semester of employment, ISSSO contacts the employees  Dean and Department Chair to determine if the university would like to pursue permanent residency through the Special Handling process on their  behalf.
  2. ISSSO requests a prevailing wage determination DOLr. Estimated DOL processing time: 1-3 months.
  3. ISSSO then files a PERM application (Form 9089) with DOL.  Estimated DOL processing time: 6-8 months.
  4. ISSSO then files a Form I-140 with USCIS. Estimated USCIS processing time: 6-8 months
  5. The employee files a form I-485 for adjustment of status. The I-485 can be filed concurrently with the I-140 to be processed when the I-140 is approved. 8-9 months.

The total processing time is between 22 and 29 months. Premium processing and/or concurrent filing of the I-140 and I-485 may reduce time to 16-21 months from the beginning of the process. Note: These estimates are based on processing times as of August 2017 and can change without notice due to a variety of factors beyond Appalachian’s control. Citizens of countries subject to the U.S. Department of State’s backlog* may encounter significantly longer delays.

Concurrent Filing of I-140 and I-485

Employees from countries who are not subject to visa backlogs* and priority dates have the option to file their Form I-485 concurrently with the Form I-140. Filing concurrently can reduce the total processing time.  When employees choose this option, ISSSO includes the completed I-485 petition in a sealed envelope as a courtesy when we submitting the I-140. Appalachian does not  offer any legal advice or review of the  I-485 petition or documents in any way. Employees are encouraged to  seek the counsel of an immigration attorney with the I-485 and adjustment of status process if they so choose. For a list of practicing immigration attorneys please consult the American Immigration Lawyers Association: http://www.aila.org/

More information about USCIS fees and processes for filing for an adjustment of status please consult USCIS: https://www.uscis.gov/

*Priority Dates and Backlogs for “Green Cards”

The U.S. Department of State allocates a specific number of green cards for China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. These green cards are further broken down by the employment based categories (EB1, EB2 etc..). Once the allotted visas for each country and category are issued, no further visas are issued until a future date. Citizens of countries impacted by the backlogs are assigned a priority date based on the day their application is electronically received by the Department of Labor. Only when the priority date becomes current is the employee eligible to file for a change of status (Form I-485). Current visa wait times and priority dates can be viewed online at www.travel.state.gov.