university of illinois green card policies

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will handle green card processing for foreign faculty and staff in the following circumstances:

1. The employing department wishes to sponsor the individual for permanent
resident (green card) status and is willing to commit to the process.
2. The position is full-time and permanent.
3. Adequate funding exists for the position.
4. The individual plans to remain in the position indefinitely.
5. The application has a strong likelihood of succeeding.

The following are examples of permanent positions: tenure-track faculty positions, tenured positions, academic professional positions such as administrative and long-term research positions. If a position is not tenured or tenure-track, department must expect to have funding for five years.

Applications are normally processed via one of the following routes. Each has various criteria that must be met:

Special Handling

(teachers only)

Outstanding Researcher

(advanced level researchers)

Outstanding Professor

(faculty who do not qualify for Special Handling)


(most commonly used for computer professionals, librarians and administrators)

The following are examples of positions which are ineligible for permanent residence sponsorship:
postdoctoral research associates and visiting or acting positions. 

International Student and Scholar Services is the sole authority for filing employment-based immigrant petitions, and any other employment-based petitions on behalf of UIUC. Any employment-based petition submitted without prior authorization and signature of a designated representative of ISSS may result in a request by UIUC to the government for official withdrawal of the petition.

The role of ISSS is limited to those aspects of the document preparation and submission that are directly related to the University’s interests and responsibilities as an employer.

No UIUC department or individual should promise current or prospective employees that the University will obtain permanent residence on their behalf. The decision to file such an application must be made by the appropriate hiring authority in consultation with ISSS. The “green card” process is lengthy, involving up to three government agencies, and the final decision to grant permanent residence must be made at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). It is never a certainty that permanent residency will be approved, and therefore should not be promised as an enticement benefit for employment.

All costs associated with filing of the employer-based immigrant petition (I-140) will be paid by the sponsoring department. Under no circumstances should the foreign national be asked to reimburse the “sponsoring department”.

NOTE: It is the beneficiary’s responsibility and at their own expense, to file the necessary documents for adjustment of status (I-485) or consular processing.

Use of outside attorneys. Attorneys may be retained by employees for green card assistance for family-based green cards, for self-petitioned employment-based green cards in the Extraordinary Ability and National Interest categories or for assistance with the adjustment of status (I-485) phase of any green card process. University representatives may not sign forms prepared by attorneys for such cases.

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