Permanent Residency

International Faculty & Scholars assists departments wishing to support individuals in the permanent residency (PR) petitioning process. There are several categories which may be used to petition USCIS for PR. The two (2) categories used by IFS to petition USCIS for PR for University employees are “Outstanding Professor/Researcher” and “Optional Recruitment” formerly known as “Special Handling.”

Guidelines for Applying for Permanent Residency

Departmental sponsorship requires that all of the following criteria must be met:

Full-time position;

FN must have no plans to cease employment while the PR petition is pending; and

The position must be permanent in nature. The sponsoring department must write a Department Letter of Support (template available) stating the permanent nature of the position. USCIS defines permanent as “tenured, tenure-track or for an indefinite or unlimited duration of which employee has expectations of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.” Permanent does not mean forever. Research Associate positions are not considered permanent.


To ensure appropriate deadlines are met, departments should initiate the PR process as follows:

Optional Recruitment: Immediately upon the start date of the faculty employment at UArizona, but no later than twelve (12) months from the date the selection committee chose the FN for the position. The date of the selection is not the same as the date of the offer.

Outstanding Professor/Researcher: After the completion of one (1) full year in H-1B status, but no later than the beginning of the FNs fifth year in H-1B status. For example, if Dr. Smith’s H-1B status began 3/1/2005, begin the PR process on 3/1/2006, but no later than 3/1/2010.

To determine which category is the most appropriate, please contact IFS via email and include updated CV, and Google Scholar Report,

IFS does not guarantee favorable adjudication of any petitions submitted to USCIS.

Detailed information about permanent residency and the process involved can be found in the following informational material:

Outstanding Professor/Researcher is used by internationally renowned Professors and Researchers who are considered outstanding for making new/novel contributions in their academic field.

Aliens with extraordinary ability

(1) An alien, or any person on behalf of the alien, may file an I-140 visa petition for classification under section 203(b)(1)(A) of the Act as an alien of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

(2) Definition. As used in this section:

Extraordinary ability means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

(3) Initial evidence. A petition for an alien of extraordinary ability must be accompanied by evidence that the alien has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise. Such evidence shall include evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major, internationally recognized award), or at least three of the following:

(i) Documentation of the alien's receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;

(ii) Documentation of the alien's membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;

(iii) Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien's work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;

(iv) Evidence of the alien's participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;

(v) Evidence of the alien's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;

(vi) Evidence of the alien's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;

(vii) Evidence of the display of the alien's work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;

(viii) Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;

(ix) Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or

(x) Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

(4) If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence to establish the beneficiary's eligibility.

(5) No offer of employment required. Neither an offer for employment in the United States nor a labor certification is required for this classification; however, the petition must be accompanied by clear evidence that the alien is coming to the United States to continue work in the area of expertise. Such evidence may include letter(s) from prospective employer(s), evidence of prearranged commitments such as contracts, or a statement from the beneficiary detailing plans on how he or she intends to continue h is or her work in the United States.

Optional Recruitment Labor Certification

Optional Recruitment Labor Certification is used by tenure/tenure-track Professors who engage in actual classroom teaching. Using Optional Recruitment, the employer is able to test the job market for the most qualified applicant.

PERM Labor Certification

PERM Labor Certification is a test of the job market to see if there are any willing and able U.S. workers available to fill the vacant position. The PERM process ends if any qualified U.S. applicants apply for the position after full, valid recruitment efforts are made.

Fee Structure and Services Provided for Employment-based Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Petitions

*Please be aware that federal and subfederal grants and contracts are not allowed to pay for internal processing fees assessed by the University of Arizona’s International Faculty & Scholars Office for immigration services.

Subject to the federal allowability rules, external processing fees paid to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for sponsoring non-immigrant status such as H-1B or J-1 may be allowable on grants and contracts. Fees for sponsoring immigrant status (permanent residency) may never be paid by grants and contracts.

Service fees assessed by International Faculty & Scholars Office or external attorneys may be paid from a non-federal source of fund (i.e. departmental, state, or local accounts.)

Expense (department account) = 4290 (Miscellaneous Services - Other Internal: Charges for all other services, which are not specifically addressed in the preceding list of object codes).

Income (IFS accounting) = 0936 and 0940 (Miscellaneous Income). Use 0936 (Miscellaneous Income – Internal) when revenues are being received for sales to other university departments on and Interdepartmental Billing (IB) document. Use 0940 (Miscellaneous Income – Other) when income is received from an external source.

Services Provided at No Cost by IFS

Initial consultation and/or referral to a UArizona approved attorney.

Services Included in Fees

  • Processing of petition (I-140).
  • Federal Express to USCIS.
  • One (1) scanned copy of the petition.
  • List of current IFS fees.

Associated Expenses Not Included in IFS Fees

  • Translations, copies, educational and/or credential evaluations associated with the initial petition and/or Request for Evidence (RFE).
  • Review of employment-based PR applications filed by a UArizona approved outside attorney.
  • All USCIS fees, including, but not limited to:
  • $700 I-140 application fee.
  • $2,500 Premium processing fee (optional).
  • List of current USCIS fees.