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All ladder-rank international faculty employed by UC Berkeley need permanent residency status to continue their employment on a permanent basis. 

Under the provisions of U.S. immigration law, the University may sponsor eligible international faculty for permanent residency (PR) status (“green-card” status) by petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the context of employment, USCIS regulations define “permanent” as employees with an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.

The two most frequently used categories for permanent residency sponsorship by UC Berkeley are EB-2 Labor Certification and EB-1-2 Outstanding Professor or Researcher (OPR).Filing Categories for PR Application

EB-2 Labor Certification: The Labor Certification Application process is primarily reserved for tenure-track faculty positions for which the chosen candidate for the position was selected through a competitive national search process. The Labor Certification Application involves filing a petition with the Department of Labor (DOL) and usually takes anywhere from nine months to one and a half years or longer for the faculty member to acquire the “green card.”

EB-1-2 Outstanding Professor or Researcher: The Outstanding Professor or Researcher petition process is primarily reserved for tenure-track or tenured faculty positions in cases in which the candidate is not hired through a competitive national search process, or in cases in which the Labor Certification Application process has long wait times (especially for China, India, and Mexico). The OPR petition involves a lot of detailed preparation of supporting documents to provide evidence that the candidate has abundant outstanding academic achievements that have generated international recognition. 

Steps for Submitting a PR Application*

*Please note that while Campus Shared Services handles the H-1B Visa, Berkeley International Office will interact directly with the hiring unit to secure Permanent Residency. 

Berkeley International Office will guide the process for submitting a permanent residency application. After the hiring unit has submitted the PR Initial Application Form to BIO with all the required approval and supporting documents, BIO will review the documents and arrange for a conference call with a representative from the law firm retained by UC Berkeley. The law firm representative and BIO will assist in the decision regarding the pathway (Labor Certification Application or Outstanding Professor or Research Application). The law firm will prepare and file the Permanent Residency Application.

Processing Timeline

The permanent residency application must be submitted within 18 months from the date on the formal written letter offering employment. This is the letter signed by either the Vice Provost for the Faculty (for untenured positions) or the Chancellor (for tenured positions). The 18 month window applies even if the new faculty member takes a leave without pay before the start date.

If the permanent residency application is not filed within 18 months from the date on the written offer letter, a new candidate search must be conducted before a permanent residency application can be filed.

We strongly recommend that the permanent residency application be filed concurrently with the application for the H-1B visa. For faculty who need grant funding for their research, it is essential that the application be made expeditiously as PR status is required by some granting agencies.

Processing Fees

  • EB-2 Labor Certification: The fee is $9,125 for the hiring unit, which includes the BIO recharge fee, attorney fee, and the fees for the immigrant petition and adjustment of status application.
  • EB-1-2 Outstanding Professor or Researcher Application: The fee is $10,625 for the hiring unit, which includes the BIO recharge fee, the attorney fee for handling the outstanding professor application, and the fees for filing the Immigrant petition and adjustment of status application.