There is a fee schedule that applies to PR requests and O-1 requests.

In an effort to serve the University more efficiently and effectively, ISSS and the Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel (OGC) are introducing a new policy under which outside immigration counsel will be available to process certain employment-based PR and O-1 petitions.

ISSS strives to maintain a level of service that is efficient and is of high quality. ISSS will also continue to provide regular education and training on immigration matters to hiring units. Because the volume of immigration applications has increased in recent years, ISSS and the OGC have concluded that it would be beneficial to provide Penn departments with options for handling certain employment-based PR and O-1 applications.

So that we may continue to meet departmental expectations and maintain excellent quality of service, ISSS and OGC have selected the following firms (in alphabetical order) to provide certain types of immigration services as a complement to the services of ISSS:

Please note: only the above-mentioned firms will be able to represent Penn in certain immigration proceedings, unless determined otherwise by ISSS or OGC.

The retained outside immigration counsel will be able to assist the Penn departments including the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) with the following types of immigration cases:

  • PR applications which are not processed by ISSS staff or cannot be processed by ISSS staff due to time constraints or unusual circumstances
  • O-1 Person of Extraordinary Ability petitions

ISSS will continue to process permanent residency applications for teaching faculty members.

  • In addition, ISSS will be your first stop for any PR and O-1 requests that will be filed on behalf of Penn. This includes those cases handled by outside immigration counsel in an effort to maintain the quality and accuracy of applications.
  • Since ISSS has expertise in immigration and related institutional matters, ISSS will screen the applications prepared by the authorized outside immigration counsel to make sure that each application accurately represents the University.
  • Please note that only ISSS is authorized to sign any immigration-related applications representing the University.
  • Detailed Information on Authorized Law Firms
  • In alphabetical order:

    Law Firm


    Language Skills

    Blank Rome LLP

    One Logan Square
    130 North 18th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Phone: 215-569-5500
    Fax: 215-569-5555

    Blank Rome LLP is one of America's largest law firms with more than 500 attorneys serving clients across the globe. Their immigration team has direct experience with Penn's foreign students, scholars, and faculty. They look forward to working with the Penn community to develop superior quality immigration strategies and petitions that reflect the professional qualifications and stature of the University's employees.

    • French
    • Spanish
    • Japanese
    • Portuguese

    Goldblum & Hess, LLP

    Jenkintown Plaza, Suite 380                     Jenkintown, PA 19046

    Phone: 215-885-3600
    Fax: 215-885-4595

    Goldblum & Hess is led by Jane Goldblum ( and Jane personally (and differently) works on all EB-1, NIW, Special Recruitment, PERM & O-1 cases, together with her exceptional and accessible staff. Jane is Editor-in-Chief of the Stanton Manual on Labor Certification and authored the Special Recruitment article.

    • Spanish
    • Indian
    • Korean
    • Italian
    • Russian
    • Mandarin
    • Cambodian

    Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP

    1800 John F. Kennedy
    Boulevard, Suite 1700
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Phone: 215-825-8600
    Fax: 215-825-8699

    Klasko Immigration Law Partners, formerly Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer, LLP is the largest Philadelphia-based immigration firm, with 5 attorneys handling extraordinary, outstanding and national interest exclusively. It is one of 6 top tier immigration firms and "strongest in the country in university, research and medical sectors" (Chambers Global Guide to Lawyers).

    They represent over 10 hospitals and receive referrals from over 25 universities. Ron Klasko has worked on immigration matters with Penn community for 25 years.

    • 10-20 languages
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Why was the Outside Immigration Counsel Program initiated?

    In recent years, the volume of immigration applications that ISSS receives has significantly increased. To maintain excellent quality service and still meet departmental expectations, ISSS and OGC concluded that it would be beneficial to provide Penn departments with options for handling employment-based PR and O-1 applications.

    • Who selected the attorneys on the list?

    Potential firms were identified and interviewed by representatives from OGC and ISSS. Firms were selected after a thorough review based on several considerations, including their familiarity with higher education institutions, successful past experiences representing universities and/or Penn, foreign language skills of staff/diversity of staff, ability to handle a significant workload, ability to work as a team with members of the Penn community, familiarity with issues frequently occurring in Penn's immigration cases, and responsiveness and accessibility.

    • How will a department know how to select an attorney from the list?

    The ISSS Retained Outside Immigration Counsel List provides information about the selected law firms. If the department knows the attorney it would like to work with, please check the appropriate box on the Permanent Residency (PR) Initial Review Form (fillable PDF) or Aliens of Extraordinary Ability O-1 Request Form (fillable PDF). If the department does not know which attorney it would like to work with, please contact ISSS for more information.

    • Why must the University, rather than the foreign national, retain the law firm?

    In employment-based immigration petitions, the employer is the petitioner. The foreign national is the intended beneficiary. The University is actually filing the petition with the federal government. The University therefore must ensure that its filings are accurate and consistent with internal policies and procedures.

    • Can a foreign national prepare and file an employer-sponsored immigrant petition?

    No. A foreign national is not authorized to represent Penn legal matters. All employer-sponsored immigration petitions must be prepared and filed by either ISSS or one of the three retained immigration counsel.

    • Who is responsible for paying the legal fees?

    PR: The hiring department will continue to be responsible for paying the legal fees and any costs associated with the Labor Certification Application and the I-140 Immigrant Petition as they belong to the University. The department might pass the fees associated with I-140s (not the fees associated with Labor Certifications per federal regulations) on to the foreign national if there is mutual agreement. Such an agreement would still require the hiring department to pay the legal and filing fees first and be reimbursed later. The foreign national is responsible for his/her own I-485 or Consular visa related costs unless the department is willing to cover the cost. The payment arrangements made between the employing unit and foreign nationals for petitions filed before August 15, 2008 are still valid.

    O-1: Since the petition belongs to the employer, it is encouraged that the hiring department would pay for the legal and filing fees for O-1 petitions. However, in the absence of federal regulations governing the O-1 fees, the fees may be passed onto the foreign national employee if there is mutual agreement prior to commencing the O-1 employment. Such an agreement would still require the hiring department to pay the legal and filing fees first and be reimbursed later.

    • Could the foreign national's salary be reduced to cover the legal fees and costs?

    No. The University may not require the foreign national employee to assume or share in the costs associated with preparing and filing employer-sponsored immigration petitions for several reasons. First, when an employer files permanent resident petition it assumes certain obligations including the payment of a certain wage. Federal regulations strictly prohibit the University from deducting from a foreign national's salary its business expenses (including legal fees or costs) associated with filing the petition. Second, legal fees and costs associated with the immigration petitions are a normal and routine part of the recruitment and retention process, just like relocation reimbursement, assistance in finding employment for traveling partners, or costs associated with starting a lab/research program/office. Finally, it is important for the University to establish the primary attorney-client relationship by assuming full responsibility for the legal fees and costs. The department must bear the legal and costs and may not be reimbursed.

    • Can the department reduce the amount of research, professional development, or other support funds to cover the legal fees and costs?

    No. You cannot treat foreign nationals less favorably than similarly situated US citizens or permanent residents. Foreign nationals are entitled to the same benefits and conditions of employment that the University provides to their colleagues employed in the same or similar capacities. It is inappropriate to deduct the employer's costs associated with its immigration petition from funds that the employee is otherwise entitled to receive or is normally given. Reduction of benefits or negatively altering working conditions can lead to allegations of discriminatory or unfair treatment.

    • How will the department be notified of legal fees and invoices?

    OGC will review outside immigration counsel's invoices and forward them to the hiring unit. The hiring departments are required to pay the attorney fees within 30 days from the date of notice from OGC.

    • Who should the department contact if it has concerns about or experiences problems with an attorney?

    If you have questions or concerns with the immigration process (i.e., legal requirements, processing times, etc.), contact Rudie Altamirano, ISSS Director at 215-573-6332.

    If you have questions or concerns with the quality of legal services or billing, contact Sean Burke, Associate General Counsel in OGC or call 215-746-5254 or 215-746-5200.

    • If I have general questions about immigration law, can I call any of the attorneys on the retained immigration counsel list?

    No. General immigration questions should be directed first to ISSS at 215-898-4661. You should only contact an attorney on the retained immigration counsel list about a specific matter they have been retained to handle for you. You may contact an attorney on the retained outside immigration counsel list to ask questions about their services (i.e., his or her experience handling similar cases, the amount of time it typically takes him or her to complete this type of case, the firm's language skills, etc.).