Permanent Residents

What is Permanent Resident status?

In immigration terms, an individual with Legal Permanent Resident [LPR] status is not a U.S. citizen but has acquired the legal right to remain in the United States indefinitely. A Permanent Resident has similar rights and privileges as a U.S. citizen such as employment, due process, and in some jurisdictions, permission to vote and hold public office (usually at the local level).  However, Permanent Residents cannot vote in federal elections or hold federal elective office. Permanent Residents may be restricted from certain federal jobs but otherwise are able to work in any occupation and anywhere in the United States.  Synonymous terms for a Permanent Resident include immigrant, green card holder, and resident alien.

Categories of Sponsorship at UC Berkeley

Under employment-based eligibility, two most frequently used categories of sponsorship are available to departments and institutes that hire a nonimmigrant employee into a permanent position at UC Berkeley:

  1. Labor Certification
    Primarily reserved for tenure track teaching faculty positions that were filled by a national competitive recruiting and hiring procedure.  The process involves filing a petition with the Department of Labor (DOL) and usually takes approximately one and a half years for the faculty member to acquire the “green card.”
  2. Outstanding Professor or Researcher
    Used for permanent research positions or for tenure-track or tenured faculty positions that were hired without the usual search. 

Where To Begin

See more information on our website for UC Berkeley Departments considering hiring international faculty or researchers.

If you are or will be hired at UC Berkeley as faculty or staff, and are considering Permanent Resident status, please discuss with your hiring unit and your hiring unit should email BIO's Assistant Director for Employment-Based Services at for a consultation.

Paths to Permanent Resident Status

  • Family membership
    usually immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • Employment 
    based on a shortage of U.S workers in an occupation or based on the skills and abilities of the potential permanent resident.
  • Investment and employment creation
  • The Visa Lottery
  • Humanitarian reasons (refugees, asylees, etc.)

To find out more ways to gain Permanent Resident status, see the USCIS website.