Permanent Residency (PR)

This information outlines several ways it is possible to become a permanent resident of the US.  For more information about PR in general, ISSS recommends consultation with a qualified immigration attorney. For information about Penn PR sponsorship, including a request for initial case review, for certain full-time employees of Penn, including the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), please see the section entitled, Permanent Residence at Penn, below.  

After reviewing the relavent information on this page, move onto the Penn Outside Legal Counsel Program, which provides details on the law firms authorized to handle Penn-sponsored cases, the summary of fees, billing, processes, etc.  Note that ISSS continues to process teaching faculty cases for which a Labor Certification Application can be filed within the 18-month filing window.


Don't forget to view the deadlines and processing times for various PR-related actions.


Obtaining PR: Five Possibilities

The laws governing immigration in the US have changed drastically over the years. At present, legal immigration is tightly limited, with preference given to immediate family members of US citizens/permanent residents, as well as the professionally skilled and highly talented who come to the country to take up specialized or high level jobs. Within these limits, various provisions of current immigration law attempt to provide equity and national diversity in the continued flow of new residents to the US.

It is possible to become a PR of the US in any of 5 ways: 1) through the petition of a close relative, 2) by a successful application for political asylum, 3) through the petition of an employer, 4) by winning the annual green card lottery, or 5) through self-sponsorship.


Four Paths to Employment-Based PR

Penn will use the most appropriate of the 4 procedures below to obtain PR for a qualified academic employee:


Permanent Residence (PR) at Penn

In order to consider a request for Penn sponsorship in the PR process, one must consider both Penn policy and government regulations.

  • Penn usually sponsors only full-time, regular employees in certain academic positions for PR in the US. 

  • Penn will not sponsor staff who are in nonacademic positions, unless a special case can be made for an exception to this policy.

  • US immigration laws and Penn policy do not permit Penn to sponsor students, part-time employees, or temporary employees for PR. (See Policy No. 119: University Sponsorship for US Permanent Resident Status for Staff Positions).

  • If Penn is able to sponsor a nonimmigrant employee for PR, ISSS will initiate an immigrant petition with the US government or authorize an immigration attorney retained by Penn to initiate one.

  • A Penn-sponsored immigrant application cannot be initiated without ISSS authorization