The International and Postdoctoral Services Office (IPSO) has prepared this information to assist Augusta University colleges/departments in evaluating a candidate and position for sponsorship for permanent residency and how to facilitate the permanent residency process for adjudication by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). If you have any questions or need additional information, please call IPSO at (706) 721-0670.

How does one obtain lawful permanent resident status?

There are three general avenues to LPR status. All three methods involve complex procedures, are time intensive in preparation, and can take months to years before adjudication is complete.

  1. Close family relationship to a U.S. citizen or LPR which qualifies in one of the family-based preferences.
  2. Having education, skills, or talents that are in demand in the U.S. and that qualify in one of the employment-based or profession-related preferences.
  3. Humanitarian applicants.


IPSO is charged with serving the colleges/departments, centers and institutes of Augusta University. As such we only provide services for certain employer-sponsored petitions (#2 above). Other options for permanent residency may be available to employees to pursue on their own through a qualified immigration attorney. At a college’s/department's request, IPSO is happy to review the immigration circumstances of an employee and provide an assessment of immigration options.


What does it mean to have a "green card"?

A “green card” is a euphemism for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. Persons who hold this status are permitted to remain in the U.S. indefinitely and to live and work wherever they wish. In general LPR's have the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as U.S. citizens. LPR's may buy and sell property, own and operate businesses, and may be drafted into the military if a draft is in effect. A few rights, privileges, and duties do not apply. LPR's may not vote in government elections, nor serve on juries at trials, nor hold some elected offices or government jobs.


Employer-Sponsored Petitions

Sponsorship for permanent residency is available for faculty positions and select permanent staff positions requiring a minimum of a master's degree. Due to limited resources, IPSO only provides services for two of the employment-based categories for permanent residency. Please note that not all employees and positions are eligible for both options.

  1. Advanced Degree Professional (ADP)
  2. Outstanding Professor/Researcher (OPR)


Advanced Degree Professional Petitions

For an Advanced Degree Professional petition, an alien must have a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) confirming that there are not sufficient qualified and available U.S. workers to perform the job and that it is therefore necessary to import a non-U.S. worker for that purpose. The employer files the labor certification on behalf of the non-U.S. worker. If the lawful permanent resident status is based on a job offer, the non-U.S. worker must, in fact, take the job and work in it for some period of time after obtaining lawful permanent resident status. If the job is not available or the non-U.S. worker does not take the job, questions of visa fraud arise.

The Advanced Degree Professional process has three requirements which must be met:

  1. The job must be permanent or have the potential to continue indefinitely. A current job that cannot withstand a lengthy processing time and continue beyond it should not be used as a basis for labor certification. For example, a position that is offered for only two years and that is not considered by the employer to be indefinite is not permanent by immigration standards. A position that can be on-going and for which the employer believes there will continue to be funding may be considered permanent. The permanent character of the position must apply to a future job offered after lawful permanent resident status is granted.
  2. The department must be willing to undertake re-recruitment procedures to test the labor market. Augusta University must advertise the position using hardcopy or online publications and text acceptable to the DOL, and may eliminate U.S. workers only for lawful, job-related reasons. For non-teaching positions there must be no qualified and available U.S. workers. For teaching faculty there must be no equally qualified U.S. workers.
  3. The job must be available on the date in the future when the non-U.S. worker is granted lawful permanent resident status.


Outstanding Professor/Researcher

For select faculty, the outstanding professor or researcher category may be an option. The category requires the petitioner to establish the following, by a preponderance of the evidence submitted:

  1. The beneficiary is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field
  2. The beneficiary has at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic field, and
  3. The beneficiary has a job offer from the petitioning employer for:
    • A tenured position (or tenure-track position) within a university or institution of higher education to teach in the academic field
    • A comparable permanent position with a university or institution of higher education to conduct research in the academic field, or
    • A comparable permanent position to conduct research in the academic field with a department, division, or institute of a private employer, if the department, division, or institution employs at least 3 persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.
    • The outstanding professor/researcher category requires significant gathering of documents by the employee/applicant and considerable participation by the College Dean, department supervisor and/or department chair.


How much does sponsorship cost?

By regulation, the labor certification aspects of the ADP/PERM path to permanent residency must be paid by the employer. The sponsoring department should expect $2,000 to $4,000 in fees and expenses.

Request to Sponsor for Permanent Residency

Petitioning for permanent residency is a complex process involving multiple government agencies. Delays are common and often unavoidable. Upon review of the department request, candidate's credentials, and position for sponsorship, IPSO will provide an assessment of eligibility for permanent residency and estimated time frame for completion.

Please be aware that every case varies and different documentation may be required for each individual petition. Generally needed:

1. From the Hiring Department

Alien employee's immediate supervisor must complete the appropriate LPR Processing Request Form and email it to

(Note: Effective 10/1/13, legal fees are approximately $2,000 to $4,000 for ADP/PERM category cases and must be paid by the Augusta University employing unit.)


2. From the Applicant/Employee

Employee must complete the Employee Information Form for Augusta University sponsorship for PR.

Take the Next Step

Immigration Consultation