International Scholar Relations

Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR)

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu


Going for the Green!  Moving from an H-1B visa to a green card is a significant transition and signals a change from a non-immigrant status to that of an immigrant.  The process is long and arduous, however, and requires a substantial financial commitment both from the University as well as from the employee.    

Unlike the H-1B visa, which must be filed by the employer on behalf of an international employee, there is an option where the employee can self-petition for Lawful Permanent Residency.  Typically, WesternU petitions on behalf of employees utilizing one of two potential categories of petitions.  The path to obtaining a green card involves three phases:           

  1. PERM Labor Certification:  this step requires the employer to engage in a national recruitment campaign, obtain a prevailing wage determination for the position and then file the Labor Certification Application with the U. S. Department of Labor.  The DOL typically adjudicates cases within six to ten months.

  2. Phase II of the process begins once the DOL has approved the PERM Labor Certification.  This step involves filing the I-140 which is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS.  The current processing time is between four to six months.  An approved I-140 petition does not instantly result in a green card.  Workers born in China, India, Mexico and the Philippines are assigned a priority date, which is a reserved spot in a queue for the LPR.  The length of these queues will vary depending on the employee’s country of origin and the LPR category.

  3. When the I-140 is approved, the final step involves filing Form I-485, which is an Application for Adjustment of Status.  The ability to file this final step is predicated on the priority date being current for the relevant immigrant visa category.  It typically takes from four to five years to get to this step.


Eligibility and Limitations of the LPR:

  1. Employees who choose to self-petition face a challenging task; employees who opt to file on their own are requested to let ISR know of their intention as their immigration status has a direct bearing on their employment status at WesternU.     

  2. Sponsoring departments or colleges must agree to invest a significant amount of time and money in the process of petitioning on behalf of an employee for an LPR.

  3. ISR does not file the petitions required for an employee’s dependents.



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