Tools Search Main Menu

Permanent Residence

A lawful permanent resident is an foreign national who has permission to reside in the US on a permanent basis and to work, study, and travel, and otherwise live in the US without maintaining other status. Permanent residents are sometimes called “green card holders.”

University Sponsorship for Employment-Based Permanent Residence

Petitions under this category are based on an active employment relationship within the US, either through direct sponsorship through your current employer or through “self petition,” both of which are subject to strict eligibility criteria.

Learn more about the various employment-based categories for permanent residence.

The term “sponsor” refers to the act of lending support to an application by way of a long-term job offer. An offer of a “permanent position” refers to a long-term position at the University. Sponsorship for permanent residence does not constitute a guarantee of lifetime employment or of tenure.

The position must be permanent in nature and full-time. Part-time positions and staff positions cannot be sponsored for permanent residence. The employee must meet the United States and Immigration Services (USCIS) criteria for permanent residence.

Generally, the University sponsors people meeting USCIS requirements in:

  • Tenured or tenure-track teaching or research positions requiring a doctorate degree
  • Research positions having no fixed term and in which the University will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is a good cause for termination

Positions eligible for permanent residence sponsorship by the University include:

  • Tenure and tenure-track positions (i.e., assistant, associate, or full professors)
  • Research assistant professors
  • Research and scientist positions requiring a PhD
  • Medical doctors
  • Dentists
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners

Positions not eligible for permanent residence sponsorship by the University include:

  • Postdoctoral researchers/fellows, which are considered temporary and training positions
  • Medical residents/fellows, which are considered temporary and training positions
  • Entry-level faculty or researcher positions that do not require a PhD
  • Staff positions

Sponsorship Process

The sponsoring department at the University must:

  • Intend to employ the individual for at least three years
  • Ensure funding for the position is guaranteed for three years
  • Have the job available to the applicant at the end of the permanent residence process (which may take two to three years)

University departments interested in sponsoring an employee for permanent residence should send a short statement in layman’s term explaining the employee’s current and prior research/teaching accomplishments, job description, and CV to the International Services Office (ISO).

ISO will then contact the department, review the situation, and make recommendations as to the best path to permanent residence.

ISO makes the final determination for each individual case about whether the person can be sponsored for permanent residence by the University. Certain ISO staff have sole authorization to sign immigration petitions representing the University to USCIS.

Department chairs, administrators, faculty, or staff are not authorized to sign immigration documents. Permanent residence should not be guaranteed to candidates during the interview process.

Family-Based Petitions

These immigration petitions are outside the purview of the University of Rochester and its legal abilities to offer assistance. They are varied and might include:

  • Immediate relatives of US citizens (spouses, children, and parents)
  • Close family members of citizens
  • Permanent residents (unmarried sons and daughters of citizens; spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents; married sons and daughters of citizens and brothers and sister of citizens)

Diversity Visa Lottery

Each year, the Department of State (DOS) conducts a random selection of Diversity Immigrant Visa Program applicants as part of its Diversity Visa Lottery. The lottery is usually held annually in October and November. It allows foreign nationals to apply for Permanent Residence eligibility based on low immigration rates from their home country in recent years.

Learn more about the DOS Diversity Visa Process.

Note: Current F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors are often hesitant to apply for the Diversity Lottery, fearing that it will contradict their Nonimmigrant Intent and limit their eligibility for a visa renewal during travel. However, entry in the Diversity Lottery is NOT an application for US Permanent Residence.

For selected applicants, the lottery only grants eligibility to apply for Permanent Residence in the future, which must be filed for separately during the appropriate fiscal year. Therefore, the lottery would not contradict your current nonimmigrant category and you could still indicate that you had not filed an Immigrant Visa Petition on the DS-160 visa application.