University professors are able to pursue permanent resident status in the United States in two different ways, both of which are more streamlined and advantageous than other types of professionals seeking employment based status.
These avenues are available to professors with advanced degrees who are coming to/stayinig in the U.S. to fill a tenure track position at a university here.
Most professors will pursue legal permanent resident status in the EB-2 category which requires a job offer from a U.S. educational institution and a labor certification. The job offer must be for a permanent, tenure-track position and the university must conduct a recruitment campaign to establish that the foreign professor in question is the most qualified for the position offered. Once this is established through the labor certification process, the university may petition the immigrations service for an immigrant visas (green card) for the professor and the individual may apply to adjust his/her status if in the U.S. or begin the process of obtaining the immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate if outside of the U.S.
There is currently no wait for available visas in this category so the professor can move forward on the permenant resident status quickly and easily. If the professor is in the U.S. in some other status, he/she may obtain employment authorization allowing him/her to work here while the green card application is pending.
An individual professor may also pursue permanent resident status in the EB-1 category. This is a much more difficult route to follow, but allows the individual to move forward without a specific job offer and does not require the labor certification.
In order to establish that an individual is an outstanding professor or researcher, one must demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. The individual must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area and be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
Proof of international recognition must include at least two of the following:
Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
Again, this route will allow the professor/researcher to avoid the job offer and labor certification requirements; however, it is very difficult to meet the standard of outstanding for these purposes.
Our office has helped professors in Missouri and Illinois obtain valid employment status in these ways. To find out more, please contact us to discuss your situation.