Syracuse University Green Card Policy

I.  General Policy Statement

Syracuse University proposes to offer green card sponsorship to any full-time faculty who is expected to be a long-term employee, including full-time teaching professors. In most cases, green card sponsorship must be initiated within 18 months of the date the faculty member in question was selected from a competitive search. A positive nomination from the faculty member’s academic dean initiates this process. The costs associated with green card sponsorship will be covered by General Counsel and the home department, school, or college.

II.  Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy for green card sponsorship for any full-time faculty member who is expected to be a long-term employee, including teaching professors, and who is nominated by their academic dean, exists to strengthen our ability to recruit and retain exceptional teaching professors. Being able to offer green card sponsorship to the best of our full-time faculty members, including teaching professors, will reduce turnover among teaching professors, thus lightening administrative burdens in departments, schools/colleges, Academic Affairs, and Academic HR. Additionally, this new policy will enhance our ability to retain and promote our best international teaching professors, thus contributing to Syracuse University’s DEIA efforts and to our commitment to teaching excellence.

III. Policy

Policy and Procedures for Green Card Sponsorship for Full-Time, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Summary: Syracuse University proposes to offer green card sponsorship to any full-time faculty who is expected to be a long-term employee. If pursued, green card sponsorship through the PERM Labor Certification “Special Handling” process (see below) must be initiated within 18 months of the date the faculty member in question was selected from a competitive search. The costs associated with green card sponsorship will be covered by General Counsel and the home department, school, or college.


There are two green card paths for Syracuse University faculty:

  1. Special Handling/PERM process, which is for “permanent” full-time faculty who have some teaching responsibilities. Non-tenure track appointments satisfy ​this definition of “permanent,” provided their appointment contemplates at least a three-year term (subject to annual review). Note that green card sponsorship through the PERM process must be initiated within 18 months of the date the faculty member in question was selected from a competitive search.
  2. EB-1 Outstanding Researcher/Professor process, which is an option for any international faculty member or researcher who can demonstrate international recognition and outstanding achievement in their respective field and is offered a long-term position at the University.

Proposed Eligibility Criteria for Full-Time, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

  • A “permanent” position, defined here as tenured or tenure-track faculty positions and other positions which, although not tenure-track or tenured, are intended to continue for a minimum period of three years, dependent upon employee performance and availability of funding. Although the University may consider a position “permanent” for immigration processing purposes, this definition does not change the University’s standard terms of employment as expressed in university policies, appointment letters, or collective bargaining agreements.
  • Positive evaluations of teaching and related responsibilities from department chair, and confirmed by dean, at the end of first credited year of service to the University.
    • Positions designated “post-doctoral” are not eligible for green card sponsorship.
    • Initial appointment letters can indicate that the dean will/can/may recommend the faculty member for green card sponsorship, upon positive review at the end of the first credited year of service.
  • Sponsorship/nomination by academic dean.
  • Competitive search process (i.e., faculty hired on search waivers are ineligible for green card sponsorship through the PERM Labor Certification program. There is no such search requirement for the EB-1 process).
  • Employee commitment to reimburse any discretionary costs borne by the home school, college, department, or University in the event that they leave within 2 years of receiving their green card.
  • Exceptions to this policy will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on a clear University need, only by the Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

Review Procedures

  • The dean forwards the name and curriculum vita of a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty member, who meets the criteria listed above, to the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, along with a letter (1) detailing why the dean supports green card sponsorship for this faculty member and (2) demonstrating the need/demand that green card sponsorship for the faculty member will address.
  • The Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs reviews the submission and approves/rejects the request, informing the nominating dean in writing about the approval/rejection decision.
  • Approved requests are moved to the University’s immigration team and/or the immigration law firm handling such cases.
  • Faculty seeking green cards should expect variance in government processing delays and plan accordingly with respect to travel and their job duties. The University cannot guarantee that a case will be filed in any specific category or by any specific time or that the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Labor, or Department of State will approve a particular application or petition or issue a visa. In the event of difficulties in such matters, the University’s immigration specialist counsel should be consulted.

Cost Arrangements

  • The University/Central pays legal fees.
  • The sponsoring unit (i.e., department, school, or college) pays the filing fees, estimated to be $2,000, with an additional $2,500 if premium processing is requested.
  • The employee will be fully responsible for the costs related to all medical examinations, photographs, fingerprints, vaccinations, obtaining biographic documents and translations; the costs for obtaining employment or travel authorization for the employee’s dependents; and travel costs to obtain a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
  • The University does not cover legal fees and USCIS filing fees for dependent family members.

Approval Process for Special Handling/PERM

  • (1) File an application for a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that the candidate was the most qualified of all applicants for the position (through a competitive recruiting process). (6-8 months, $2,000 legal fees paid by University/Central).
    • The University can decide to trigger this process upon appointment or at a later time, but it must be filed with the Department of Labor no later than 18 months of appointment.
      • This step runs parallel to the faculty member’s work visa, which is a separate and parallel process.
      • Note that prior to filing the PERM application under the 18-month deadline, the prevailing wage determination must be filed, which can take up to 6 months for processing. Thus, this process must be initiated well before the 18-month deadline.
  • (2) If the Department of Labor provides the requested certification, file an I-140 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (6-8 months, $700 USCIS filing fee, with optional premium processing fee of $2,500, paid by home department, school, or college, and additional $1,750 fee for legal services, paid University/Central).
    • The I-140 petition is the employer’s petition sponsoring the faculty member for eligibility for Permanent Resident (“green card”) status.
  • (3) Assuming the I-140 petition is approved, file an I-485 application for permanent residence (the green card). As long as the applicant’s priority date is “current”, the I-140 petition and I-485 application may be filed concurrently. (8-14 months, USCIS filing fee of $1,225, paid by home department, school, or college, and legal fees of $1,500, paid the University/Central).
    • Qualifying dependents of the applicant may submit their own I-485 applications at this point ($1,225 for dependents over age 14 and $750 for dependents under age 14). All costs associated with dependent family member application are the responsibility of the faculty member.

Approval Process for EB-1

  • The EB-1 process requires Steps 2 and 3 of the Special Handling process. Given the complexity of the EB-1 process, the legal fee associated with this green card category is $4,500 paid by University/Central). The USCIS filing fee remains the same at $700. This fee, however, does not include the cost of the I-485 application.
  • The I-140 petition usually requires substantial supporting evidence of the researcher/professor’s accomplishments, credentials, and publications. Most professors and researchers hired into faculty-level positions will have significant publications and accomplishments to qualify for this category.
    • Evaluation of each applicant’s curriculum vita by the legal team is required to ensure they meet all required criteria.
Path Step 1
(DOL Cert.)
Step 2
Step 3
Special Handling Legal fee – $2,000 Normal – $700

Expedited – $2,500

Legal fee – $1,750

Filing fee – $1,225

Dependent filing fee – $1,225 for applicants >14 y/o, and $750 for applications <14 y/o

Legal fee – $1,500 per applicant; $1,000 per dependent family member

EB-1 n/a Government filing fees same as Special Handling

Legal fee – $4,500

Government and legal fees same as Special Handling
Time 6-8 mos. 6-8 mos. 8-14 mos.