Permanent Residents

Eligibility for Permanent Residency Sponsorship

Under USCIS regulations employers can only sponsor 'permanent' positions for permanent residency. At UC Berkeley that includes, with department approval, tenure-track faculty (including LPSOE and LSOE positions) and permanent staff positions. Other positions may qualify based on the following factors:
  • Both the employee and department intend for the employment to continue indefinitely. Postdoctoral scholar (postdoc) appointments at UC Berkeley are not eligible for University permanent residency sponsorship because postdoc positions are temporary and have fixed end dates.
  • Funding for the position must be available for at least three years.
  • There is a reasonable expectation that funding will continue beyond the three years.
  • Other factors may also play a role:
    •  Importance of the role/employment for the department or unit (institute)
    • Unavailability of U.S. workers for the position
In addition all such sponsorships require the approval of the BIO director. 

Types of Applications

Under employment-based eligibility, the two most frequently used categories for permanent residence sponsorship by the University of California, Berkeley are are EB-1B Outstanding Professor or Researcher (OPR) and EB-2 PERM Labor Certification.

EB-2 PERM Labor Certification: The EB-2 PERM Labor Certification process is 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 two and a half  to three years for the faculty member to acquire permanent residency. In the event of an audit by Department of Labor the process may take longer.

EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher: The Outstanding Professor or Researcher petition process is used for permanent research positions or for tenure-track or tenured faculty positions that were hired without the usual search, or in cases in which the Labor Certification Application process has long wait times (currently those born in China, India). The OPR petition involves a lot of detailed preparation of supporting documents evidencing that the applicant has abundant outstanding academic achievements that have generated international recognition.

A General Description of the PR Process

To start the process, the employing department will contact Rajan Eapen at, Assistant Director for Employment Based Services at Berkeley International Office (BIO). The PR Initial Information Form and required attachments will be submitted to BIO. BIO will set up a conference call between BIO, the employing department manager/Department Chair, the employee and a representative of the law firm that the university has retained for the filing of all permanent residency cases on behalf of the university.

Once a determination has been made regarding the pathway to permanent residency, the employing department will provide the IOF payments to BIO for recharge and legal services. The law firm will then maintain direct communication with BIO, the employee and the employing department . All fees leading to the approval of the Immigrant Petition (Form I-140) are the responsibility of the employing department. The fees for the adjustment of status for the employee and family may be paid by the hiring unit or passed on to the employee. There will be additional expenses incurred by the employee for a medical exam and photographs.

The University of California, Berkeley assumes a considerable responsibility under immigration law when it sponsors international faculty or researchers for permanent resident status. We ask departments to exercise care and use the employment authority of the University to request immigration benefits only when it is consistent with the University’s goals, programs, and standards and within the context of immigration laws. 

Information and Forms

The following information materials will assist departments who may or will be hiring international faculty or researchers: