UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / Hiring International Faculty & Staff / Sponsoring Green Cards

Sponsoring Green Cards

Sponsorship of Permanent Residency

Each year the university welcomes international faculty and staff from around the globe.  Many of these UK employees will make Lexington their home and remain at the university in full-time regular and tenure-track positions. Their expertise, knowledge and research enhances the university reputation and improves the learning of all UK students.   

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is here to help supervisors who wish to sponsor permanent residency for international faculty and staff.  ISSS will help facilitate the process which includes the filing of petitions for permanent residency petitions with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration  Services (USCIS).

The Basics

Advertising Guidelines

Hiring and inviting international workers is a complicated process.  Prior to posting advertisements for teaching faculty, hiring officials may wish to contact ISSS to verify ad specifications.  Adhering to certain ad specifications may aid with a smoother permanent residency process for some teaching faculty. Incomplete ads could lead to a costly re-recruitment process.   


Policy on Permanent Residence

The university will not sponsor permanent residence for the following type of positions: 

  • Temporary and/or part-time positions, such as postdoctoral scholars and visiting scientists, because these positions do not meet regulatory standards as required for permanent residence. 
  • Positions with a bachelor’s degree as the minimum requirement may require the assistance of an attorney and will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

The university may sponsor permanent residence under the following conditions: 

  • The candidate holds a permanent position at the University of Kentucky. "Permanent" is defined by immigration guidelines as employment that is intended to be of an indefinite or unlimited duration. In other words, the nature of the position is such that the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment. In these cases, the request for the university to sponsor the application must be approved by the applicant’s chair, director or dean of the college. 
  • The position demonstrates secured funding that is either regular in nature, or in the case of a grant-funded position, includes a reasonable expectation that funding will continue. 
  • The candidate maintains a valid non-immigrant employment status while the application is being processed, unless it is concurrent filing with the I-485 Adjustment of Status. In this case, our office advises continuation of the H-1B rather than filing the Employment Authorization Document, but we defer to the counsel of the attorney.  
  • The supervisor or department head agrees to sign the documentation required. Please note that sponsorship or signatures on documentation doesn't necessarily include a responsibility to pay legal and/or other processing fees. The department's responsibility to pay fees will depend on the type of permanent residency case and whether the use of attorney is involved in the process.

When Outside Counsel is Necessary

Per U K BUSINESS PROCEDURES E-1-6, the Office of Legal Counsel must approve all outside counsel prior to commencing legal work on behalf of the University of Kentucky.  Hiring departments and employees should consult with the director of ISSS to determine eligibility.

Once it has been established that the employee meets the criteria and university guidelines, hiring departments and/or employees may contact a pre-approved immigration attorney.  A list will be provided upon request.  ISSS is here to assist hiring officials in filing most types of permanent residency cases for teaching faculty.  However, a more lengthy or complex case may require the services of outside counsel. This must be decided in consultation with ISSS.

If you are unsure about which pathway to permanent residency is preferable, please contact the director of ISSS, Elizabeth Leibach.

Competitive Recruitment Report

ISSS is able to file a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) for hiring departments who seek to sponsor a faculty member for lawful permanent residency (green card) status under the SECOND Preference (EB-2): Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees.  As part of the supporting documentation for an EB-2, the hiring department must describe and summarize the recruitment efforts (or re-recruitment) that were completed on behalf of the international faculty member.  This is called the Competitive Recruitment Report.   A sample letter describing the initial recruitment efforts is provided here. A sample letter using a reselection or re-recruitment process is provided here.

Attestation of Qualifications

As part of the required documentation for a SECOND Preference (EB-2): Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees the department must provide a description of the qualifications of the international faculty member. A sample letter is provided here.

Reselection or Reconfirmation of Position Letter

Sometimes employers must recruit a second time in order to “reselect” the candidate.   This happens when the advertisement doesn’t meet specific foreign labor criteria during the recruitment.  When this happens, the employer will perform a new recruitment and place a new national advertisement to reselect the candidate. A sample letter is provided here.

Form I-140 Letter of Support

Once a Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) has been approved, ISSS will seek approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  This process requires a letter of support from the hiring department that confirms a “position of indefinite duration” will be available to the candidate.  A sample letter is provided here.