Permanent Residency (Green Card)

Permanent residency allows an international employee to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

Georgia College will support a petition for Employment-Based Permanent Residency only under the following conditions:

  • The applicant’s education and experience are in the same field of study as the position in which they will be doing instruction or administration;
  • The applicant’s education and experience are commensurate with the job description for similar positions across the university and the University System of Georgia.


Employment based immigration is one of the most common ways to obtain permanent residency. Georgia College will process permanent residency for an international employee upon sponsorship approval from the provost. Georgia College will pay the associated filing fees incurred by filing the I-140. In some circumstances premium processing is needed to expedite the process. At the discretion of the provost, Georgia College will pay this fee. All other fees must be paid by the international employee. The department must be in full support of any permanent residency request prior to the Office of Legal Affairs committing to the process, and no petition will be initiated without express written consent from the department chair, approved by the dean and final university approval granted by the provost. Beneficiaries of permanent residency petitions may opt to hire outside counsel to assist with their petitions, but under no circumstances will Georgia College cover the expense or be under any obligation to follow the advice of outside counsel. Although counsel may be sought, the immigrant petition itself must be filed by Georgia College not outside immigration counsel.

The permanent residency process is a two application process. The initial I-140 immigrant petition is completed by the sponsoring employer – Georgia College. The subsequent I-485 change of status petition is completed by the employee. The I-140 and I-485 can be filed concurrently in some cases if employment based visa numbers are readily available (see the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin). If not, the I-485 cannot be filed until the I-140 has been approved and the applicant’s – priority date is current. Additional forms associated with the I-485 include the I-131 Advance Parole form and the I-765 Employment Authorization form. These are also completed by the employee.

Overall Criteria for Permanent Residency

The following criteria must be met to qualify for permanent residency:

  • The position cannot include a set end date for employment; the intention must be long term employment, barring any normal issues that would end in termination;
  • The position must require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study - requirement may be higher depending on the level of visa petition desired;
  • The applicant must have education and experience commensurate with the position’s documented requirements; if the position requires a specific field of study, the applicant must have education/experience specifically in that field; and
  • The department, Academic Affairs (or the respective division), and Human Resources must be able and willing to document the above, along with justification of the recruitment process, in writing.

Overview of Sponsorship Categories

There are three categories for which Georgia College can sponsor Employment Based Permanent Residency. Each process has its own set of qualifications, procedures, and documentation requirements. The PR process should be initiated by the employing department, as assistance with PR cases is intended for the benefit of the university in meeting Georgia College’s goals of internationalizing the campus. Any request for permanent residency is based on a permanent, full-time employment commitment by the university.

The three categories that are available to international employees at GC are:

Outstanding Professor/Researcher (EB-1 category)

To qualify for the Outstanding Professor/Researcher category, the international employee must meet the following criteria:

  • Be recognized as outstanding in their respected academic field;
  • Have a minimum of three years teaching and research experience in their respected academic field; and
  • Must have a permanent tenure or tenure-track position at GC in their field of study.

GC must submit to USCIS the I-140 immigrant petition with all necessary supporting documents including those established by preponderance of the evidence. This documentation will include but not limited to:

  • Extensive documentation providing justification to national or international recognition in their academic field; and
  • Official justification of teaching and/or research experience.

Department of Labor PERM Processing for individuals with teaching responsibilities (EB-2 category)

To qualify under the EB-2 category for USCIS, the international employee must meet the following standards:

  • Must be a member of the professions;
  • Have an advanced degree; and
  • The minimum requirement for the job must be an advanced degree.

The three qualifying requirements for this category for the DOL are:

  • The individual have some percentile of teaching responsibilities.
  • The advertisement for the position must have appeared in a PRINT ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education or appropriate professional journal.
  • The application must be submitted to the Department of Labor WITHIN 18 months of the DATE OF JOB OFFER.

This category requires GC to submit a PERM application (ETA 9089) to the Department of Labor and the I-140 immigrant petition to USCIS after approval from the DOL.

Department of Labor PERM Processing for positions that do not have teaching responsibilities (EB-2 or EB-3 category)

This category may include positions that require only a bachelors or master’s degree. This process is the most time consuming because it requires a true “Test of the Labor Market”. This means that the position will have to be advertised in a number of ways including twice in the local newspaper, Sunday editions, an open job ad with the Georgia Department of Labor, and additional advertising from a select list of approved ways. The department will need to interview any individuals who are citizens or permanent residents who have the minimum qualifications for the position. If the international employee is found to be the only qualified candidate, the PR application can move forward. The DOL has strict guidelines that must be followed to meet the specific standards.

This category requires GC to submit a PERM application (ETA 9089) to the Department of Labor and the I-140 immigrant petition to USCIS after approval from the DOL.