Office of the General Counsel

Explanation of Permanent Residency Process at UNCW

When a foreign national faculty member requests that UNCW sponsors him or her for permanent residency, the faculty member must send a written request to the department chair. If a department chair desires to sponsor a foreign national employee for a permanent residency petition, "green card," the employee must be in a permanent and fulltime position and must possess the requisite qualifications as per USCIS and/or Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. Please note that "permanent," in reference to a research or teaching position, means either tenured, tenure-track, or for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration, and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination. The faculty member must also have a visa which evidences intent to stay (i.e. H-1B v. TN).

FIRST STEP: After reviewing the faculty member's request, the department chair must complete the Initiation of Permanent Residency Process Form, obtain the signature of the dean, and turn it into The Office of International Programs (Campus Box 5965). The department chair must also submit a copy of the appointment letter for the sponsored foreign national and a copy of their CV.

SECOND STEP: The OIP, in consultation with the department, makes a determination whether the foreign national employee they desire to sponsor is eligible for either the PERM petition or the Outstanding Scholar/Faculty Member petition and makes a recommendation to the Provost for Academic Affairs. If favorable, the OIP will work with both the department (the Petitioner) and the foreign national employee (the Beneficiary) to prepare the requisite documentation and file the permanent residency petition.

Note: because both USCIS and DOL impose strict legal requirements for permanent residency petitions, it is essential that departments contact OIP when they are considering extending an offer of a permanent position, and before promising sponsorship, so that OIP is able to review the credentials of the foreign national employee to determine potential eligibility per USCIS and DOL regulations. The University cannot promise or guarantee that a green card will issue. You may state that the department would consider requesting sponsorship provided the employee meets the legal requirements for a petition.

Filing a petition when the supporting documentation has not been accumulated may lead to a denial of the petition and may cause future petitions sponsored by UNCW to be subject to a federal audit and subject UNCW and its administrators to potential fines.