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The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for 140,000 employment-based immigrant petitions to be approved each fiscal year. These 140,000 approvals are divided between five employment-based preference categories. OSU processes two types of permanent residency petitions:
OSU faculty who do not hold teaching positions generally apply for permanent residence using the EB-1 category. The EB-1 category requires that the applicant be outstanding in his or her academic field and be permanently employed. The applicant bears the burden of proof to meet the standards applicable for the Outstanding Professor and Researcher designation.
OSU tenure-track faculty who hold positions with teaching responsibilities generally apply for permanent residence using the second category listed above. This category requires that OSU document that a fair search was conducted and that the most qualified individual was hired for the position. This category allows for special consideration by the Department of Labor because of the individual's teaching responsibilities. The application must be submitted within 18 months of the decision to hire.
Securing permanent residence in the US is a two step process.
Step 1: The I-140
ISFS assists the applicant with the first phase of the application process which is the I-140 and supporting documents demonstrating outstanding ability, or the I-140 and approved labor certification. After the I-140 has been approved by USCIS, the University's role in the process is at an end.
Step 2: The I-485 (Adjustment of Status)
In the final adjustment of status phase, the scholar must self-petition the USCIS by filing his/her own adjustment paperwork requesting to change from nonimmigrant to immigrant status on form I-485. Because this is considered to be the applicant's own personal petition, ISFS may not assist with the process. Applicants may consult a private attorney during this phase of the process if they wish.
Once the final adjustment of status paperwork is submitted to USCIS, the faculty member's application is placed on a waiting list for that employment-based category and background security checks are also done. An individual's place on the waiting list is determined by the priority date assigned to his or her application. The priority date is the date on which either the labor certification or the I-140 was submitted to the USCIS.
The wait-time for final adjudication of the petition varies from four months to two years or longer. In addition, individuals born in certain countries may be affected by visa retrogression and the adjustment of status phase may run considerably longer. Each country of the world is allowed a certain number of immigrant visas for the US. Visa retrogression occurs when immigrant visas for a particular country are no longer available and the demand exceeds the supply of visas. Individuals must then wait until a visa number becomes current before the final adjustment of status to permanent resident can occur.
During the transition between H-1B status and permanent residency, the scholar and the department must work closely with ISFS to ensure that the scholar maintains the correct visa status.
ISFS charges $2,000 for the processing of permanent resident applications. The administrative fee will be charged at the I-140 immigrant petition stage of the process and must be received before the application will be processed. This fee may be paid by either the department or the scholar if the salary meets Department of Labor (DOL) wage requirements. ISFS will determine whether the salary meets DOL requirements.
Note: These fees are in addition to any required USCIS or Department of State fees that are already assessed to departments and/or scholars.