US. Citizenship and Immigration Service Immigration through Employment
This section of the USCIS Website provides you with information and directions necessary to apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR), or "green cards". You will have the opportunity to access information regarding ways to get a "green card". A "green card" gives you official immigration status (Lawful Permanent Residency) in the United States.
An immigrant is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. If you want to become an immigrant based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through a multi-step process.
- First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of CIS' paths to lawful permanent residency.
- Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089) for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Labor must either grant or deny the certification request. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the United States which has been certified as underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are relieved from this requirement. You may wish to read more about this program.
- Third, CIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition. However, if a Department of Labor certification is needed the application can only be filed after the certification is granted. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.
- Fourth, the State Department must give the applicant an immigrant visa number, even if the applicant is already in the United States. When the applicant receives an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to the applicant. You can check the status of a visa number in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin.
- Fifth, if the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. You may wish to read about application procedures on becoming a permanent resident while in the United States. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will be notified and must complete the process at his or her local U.S. consulate office.
An "immigrant visa" (also known as a "green" card or permanent resident status) permits a foreign national to remain in the United States permanently. A permanent resident has the right to become a naturalized U.S. citizen after three to five years. Immigrant visas are numerically limited by country and by class, e.g. family relationship or job skills.
To enter or to stay in the United States as a nonimmigrant or immigrant usually requires several steps. First, a foreign national or his or her employer or relative often files an application with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) to be classified in one of the nonimmigrant or immigrant visa categories. If the USCIS approves the application, the foreign national may need to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas to have a visa stamped in his or her passport. This stamp indicates the visa class and the date of issuance and expiration. At the border, an immigration inspector will review the visa stamp and issue an admission card (Form I-94 for non-immigrants). The inspector can authorize admission for any length of time, up to the expiration date on the visa stamp. The USCIS also issues permanent resident alien cards to immigrants in the United States.
IMMIGRANT VISA CATEGORIES
An immigrant or legal permanent resident ("LPR") is someone admitted to the United States permanently. To obtain immigrant status, an applicant must meet both the substantive and numerical requirements of the law. Substantively, one must qualify as a specified close relative of a U.S. citizen or another LPR, as an employee of a sponsoring employer or prospective employer, or as a "diversity immigrant" under a visa "lottery" program. Further, the potential immigrant must not fall within any of the general categories of inadmissible aliens specified in the law, such as criminality, mental defect, Communist party affiliation, drug trafficking, or terrorism.
In addition to substantive requirements, there are also country-specific and world-wide statutory quota limits imposed on most categories of family and employment-based immigrant visas. These quota limitations often can result in extended waiting periods before immigrant status may be obtained.
Currently, about 670,000 immigrant visas are available each year.
There are five employment-based immigrant visa categories (of which three have additional sub-categories of their own). They are as follows:
Employment-Based Category 1 (EB-1)
The first employment-based category covers "priority workers." No labor certification is required in this category. Roughly 40,000 visas are allocated annually to this group. This category has three subcategories.
Category 1 - Sub-category A
Aliens with "extraordinary ability" in arts, sciences, education, business or athletics - To qualify in this sub-category, the applicant must show sustained national or international acclaim and achievements recognized through extensive public documentation, and must be able to demonstrate that his or her contribution would "substantially benefit" the United States prospectively.
Category 1 - Sub-category B
Outstanding professors and researchers - To qualify in this sub-category, the applicant must establish international recognition or acclaim, must have at least three years' experience in teaching and research in the field, and must have an offer of employment for a tenured or tenured-track teaching position at a U.S. university or college, or a comparable research position in private industry.
Category 1 - Sub-category C
Certain multinational executives and managers - This sub-category provides an immigrant visa for individuals who were employed as executives or managers overseas during at least one year within the three-year period immediately prior to transfer into the United States, and who are transferred to the United States to perform executive or managerial duties. The overseas and U.S. employers must be the same or affiliated entities. The definitions of executive capacity and managerial capacity are fairly broad, and include managing a function, not just employees.
- Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
- Foreign national that are outstanding professors or researchers
- Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States
Employment-Based Category 2 (EB-2)
ADVANCED DEGREE HOLDERS AND ALIENS OF EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY
The second employment-based category annually allows for 40,000 visas, plus any spilldown of unused visas from the EB-1 category. This category has two sub-categories. The first is open to members of the professions holding advanced degrees (e.g. above that of baccalaureate) or their equivalent. The second sub-category is available to those who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States. Under the second sub-category, the applicant's exceptional ability must be demonstrated by more than just a degree or license, and must be substantially above that normally encountered in the sciences, arts or business.
An applicant in this category generally must obtain a labor certification for his position. However, a specific job offer and labor certification may not be necessary if an applicant can demonstrate that such an exemption would be in the national interest.
- Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
- Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals
- Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved. Read more about this particular program.
Employment-Based Category 3 (EB-3)
SKILLED WORKERS, PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER WORKERS
This category also allows for 40,000 visas annually, plus any spilldown of unused visas from the EB-1 and EB-2 categories.. There are three sub-categories in this category. An applicant in each of these sub-categories must obtain a labor certification for his or her position.
Category 3 - Sub-category A
Skilled workers - An alien qualifies as a skilled worker if, at the time of petitioning for classification, he or she is capable of performing skilled labor requiring at least two years training or experience, and is being sponsored for a permanent position for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
Category 3 - Sub-category B
Professionals - This sub-category encompasses aliens holding baccalaureate degrees or their equivalent who are members of the professions. The employer must show that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the job.
Category 3 - Sub-category C
Other workers - This sub-category is reserved for aliens capable of performing unskilled labor, not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. A cap of 10,000 visas within the overall 40,000 annual limit for the EB-3 category is set for applicants seeking to qualify in this sub-category.
- Foreign national professionals with bachelor's degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
- Foreign national skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
Foreign national unskilled workers
Employment-Based Category 4 (EB-4)
This category has 10,000 visas available per year, and encompasses religious workers, certain former United States government employees, and certain foreign nationals working for international organizations.
- Foreign national religious workers
- Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad
Employment-Based Category 5 (EB-5)
This "immigrant investor" category provides up to 10,000 visas annually to applicants who invest a minimum of $1 million in a new enterprise in the United States that will create jobs for at least ten U.S. citizens or permanent residents, other than immediate family members of the investor. In certain targeted employment areas, the investment may be reduced to $500,000.
Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §1153(b)(5), FIFTH “EB-5” Immigrant Investors provides 10,000 visas per year • Alien entrepreneurs whose new commercial enterprises will directly create 10 or more new job are eligible for this visa category. Please visit the Office of Communications www.uscis.gov USCIS Update June 18, 2009 USCIS issues Guidance Memorandum on EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Update.
B. FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRANTS
There are two basic types of familial relationships that serve as a basis to apply for permanent resident status: immediate relatives and family-sponsored preference immigrants. There is worldwide cap on family-sponsored immigrants of 480,000 per year.
Spouses and minor (i.e., under 21) unmarried children of United States citizens, parents of U.S. citizens (provided the citizen is over 21 years old), and certain spouses of deceased U.S. citizens can qualify for an immigrant visa as immediate relatives. There are no numerical limitations on this category of immigrant visas.
Family Sponsored Immigrants
Each family preference category has its own annual allocation of visas under the worldwide limit on family-based visas. The current family-based preference categories and annual numerical limits are:
Family First Preference
Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
Family Second Preference
Spouses and unmarried children of permanent resident aliens
Family Third Preference
Married sons and daughters of
Family Fourth Preference
Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, if such citizen is at least 21 years old
In addition, the spouse or child of the principal alien is entitled to the same status and order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the spouse or alien.
C. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANTS
"Diversity immigration" refers to a concept of allowing people a chance to immigrate to the United States even if they lack close relatives or a job offer. 55,000 immigrant visas are available each year to people from countries that traditionally have not had much immigration to the United States in the past. To qualify for this program, applicants must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, or have worked two years in an occupation that requires two years of training or experience.
The diversity immigration program is aimed at helping potential immigrants from such regions as Africa and Europe. Millions of people apply for the permanent diversity visa program every year.
U.S. PERMANENT RESIDENCE
EB-1: OUTSTANDING PROFESSOR/RESEARCHER category
The Immigration Act of 1990 created a special program for qualified foreign nationals to gain permanent residence. This program does not require the approval of the Department of Labor. Because an individual submits an application directly to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), permanent resident status may be gained more quickly than under the alternative system. The OISS will file this application for qualified individuals holding permanent academic positions.
1) A permanent job offer in a Howard University academic position. (Note: Postdoctoral Associates or Fellows and those with “Temporary” in their title are not considered to be permanent employees and would not qualify for this program. Research Associates generally qualify for sponsorship.
2) USICS regulations require that the professor or researcher have at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field. Experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree is only acceptable if the person achieved the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that he or she had full responsibility for the class taught, or if the research conducted toward the degree had been recognized as outstanding.
3) Evidence that the professor or researcher is recognized internationally as outstanding in their academic field. This evidence should ideally consist of at most of the following:
Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievements in the academic field;
Membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements of their members;
Participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
Citations of your work in professional publications by other experts in the field;
Authorship of scholarly books/articles, in scholarly journals with international circulation, in the field;
Original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field.
Step 1. Assemble supporting documentation for I-140 petition. Supporting documentation includes the following:
Department Support Letter - Support letter from department chair or host professor. This letter should both confirm permanent employment and provide a strong recommendation for permanent residence (i.e. must discuss applicants qualifications, experience and standing in the field).
Confirmation of permanent position and salary - Statement from department chair or hiring authority confirming permanent employment (see attached sample)
Curriculum Vitae – This should be detailed, and should include all invited talks, presentations, grants, journals for which you act as a reviewer, and a list of publications.
Copies of degree(s) - If the Ph.D. diploma is in a language other than English or Latin, it must be accompanied with a certified translation.
Support letters - Supporting letters from leaders in the field attesting to your “original scientific or scholarly research contributions.” (6 – 12 letters recommended – see page 4)
Applicant's participation in activity as the judge of work of others in the academic field - must provide evidence of activity, examples;
Copies of requests from editors who asked that you review an article for a scholarly journal, or memos confirming participation as a reviewer
Copies of conference publications which show your participation an organizer or reviewer
Copies of documents that indicate committee assignments for professional associations in the field
Copies of documents proving that you’ve acted as a reviewer for grant proposals (i.e. USDA, NSF)
Any other evidence which indicates that other people in the field are seeking your opinion.
Membership in professional organizations that require outstanding achievement –proof of membership and criteria for inclusion in the professional organization – you must demonstrate that the organization requires outstanding achievement for membership.
Prizes and awards (including competitive grants) - copies of first pages of documentation, the copies should include name, and name of grant or prize awarded. Whole grant proposals do NOT need to be included.
Presentations at academic - symposiums - include copies of abstracts, if available
Peer-reviewed articles - copies of the first pages of all published articles/books
Evidence of citations – Evidence from on-line citation indexes is sufficient as long as the evidence clearly shows who cited you, and in what publication. Also recommended; several samples of actual citations. For example, if you have 50 citations, select 8-10, and copy the article title page, as well as the place where your work is cited.
Any additional evidence: i.e. patents, computer programs, any other materials that demonstrate standing in the field!
Step 2: Submit draft of materials to OISS for review.
Step 3: Submit the final documentation to OISS, including:
1. Three (3) copies of petition materials.
- Table of Contents is unnecessary
- Do not put in binder or use tab dividers
- Insert one piece of colored paper between sections, labeling sections with titles is not necessary, but is recommended.
- Secure each packet with rubber bands or jumbo clip
2. Rough draft of Form I-140 available at http://www.uscis.gov. Leave items you are unsure of blank. OISS will complete final copy.3. Check or money order for $475 payable to USCIS
Department Letter Structures
These letters are not sent to the USCIS directly. They should be collected and submitted with the other supporting documentation.
1. The Department support letter should have the following structure:
Address letter to:
USCIS – Texas Service Center
P. O. Box 851804
Mesquite, TX 75185-1804
Dear USCIS Official:
I would like to support Dr. X for permanent residence under the outstanding professor or research category. Dr. X has a permanent position, as defined by 8 C.F. R. 204.5(i)(3)(iii)(A)-(C) at Howard University University as a [insert title) with an annual salary of [insert salary]
Dr. X meets the necessary experience qualification… (i.e. at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field is required).
Discuss research, publications, grants, invitations as a speaker, etc…
Discuss impact that the applicant’s work has had on the field/the significance to the field.
2. The Department confirmation of employment letter/memoramdum should have the following structure:
This is to confirm that (name) has been offered permanent employment as a (title) with the Department of (name), Howard University University. The annual salary for this position is $ .
As [your title] I am the hiring authority for this department at Howard University University
If this is a petition for a research associate or other non-tenure-track position, you should also include the following:
Although appointments for research positions at Howard University are given term dates as per university policy, these are renewable, and Research Associates ordinarily have the expectation of continued employment, unless there is good cause for termination. Accordingly, Dr. [insert name of applicant] position as Research Associate meets the definition of "permanent" as defined by 8 C.F. R. 204.5(i)(3)(iii)(A)-(C).
Letters Attesting to “original scientific or scholarly research contributions”
The Outstanding Professors and Researchers permanent residence category allows for employment-based “green card” petitions to be submitted for faculty and researchers who are recognized internationally as outstanding in their specific academic field.
One of the lines of evidence used to support petitions for Outstanding Professors and Researchers are letters from experts in the field. Expert testimonials must discuss the professor and/or researcher’s original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance in the area of study. Letters that merely establish the professor/researcher’s competence, and fail to set him/her apart from other persons in the field, can be more harmful than helpful. Individuals filing for this classification must already be considered to have an international reputation for scholarly achievement in their field. USCIS will not approve petitions simply because an individual has the potential to rise to the top.
Comparisons of the applicant should be made to others in the field. The field can be as specific as the applicant’s area of specialty. Do not assess the applicant’s contribution relative to other cohorts (other “young”, other “women” or others you’ve known in the last 10, 20 or 30 years). Comparisons should only be made among/between those who are working in the same area of specialty.
USCIS is not interested in the personality or the working style of the applicant. Therefore, the letter should focus on the scholarly/scientific contributions that the applicant has made to the field. Objective assessments are best. USCIS adjudicators evaluating the petitions are not experts in the field. Therefore, it is important to bring the discussion down to a level where a reasonably intelligent lay person can understand the significance of the work and the individual’s contributions to the field. In addition, since the letters are being included as “expert” testimonials, USCIS wants to know who you are. Please include in the letter a brief description of your credentials and background, and attach a copy of your own CV or web bio page (if available).
A basic letter structure is outlined below. There is no recommended length. Substance is more important than length. Letters should be returned to the applicant or department for submission with the USCIS petition for US permanent residence. Please do not ask the applicant for a template. USCIS adjudicators will catch every matching sentence or phrase. Letters should be original, and in your own “voice”.
USCIS – Texas Service Center
P. O. Box 851804
Mesquite, TX 75185-1804
Dear USCIS Official:
Paragraph 1: Why you are writing: Who you are, why you are qualified to make a judgment about Dr. X’s standing in the field.
Paragraph 2 – 5… A description of Dr. X’s work/achievements/publications in the field & an analysis of Dr. X’s standing in the field. This is where you can elaborate on the nature of Dr. X’s work and it’s relevance to the field and to the world.
Permanent Residence for International Academic Staff
Many international students and scholars wish to gain Permanent Resident Status ("green card") to allow them to live and work in the United States for an indefinite period. The three most common ways to obtain permanent residence include:
- family relationship (e.g. marrying a U.S. citizen)
- diversity lottery program
- petition from an employer
Steps to Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card)
via Employer Sponsorship
Howard University University files petitions for Legal Permanent Residence (Green Card) for international academic staff holding permanent academic positions. Most petitions are filed under the priority worker category, "Outstanding Professors and Researchers." However, in some cases, we may recommend that an applicant pursue permanent residence via the Department of Labor, either as an alternative to the "Outstanding Professors and Researchers" petition, or in addition to it. All Howard University-sponsored permanant residency applicants are REQUIRED to have at least one meeting prior to the filing of a petition on their behalf. Postdoctoral Associates and those with "Visiting" in their titles do not qualify for sponsorship.
Those who hold (or will soon hold) a permanent academic appointment at Howard University, should contact Laura Taylor, Associate Director, at lbt1@Howard University.edu to schedule an appointment.
Please note that Howard University University does not allow outside attorneys to represent the institution in employment-based permanent residency cases except under very limited circumstances. In such circumstances, there is a review and approval process and the OISS must sign the G-28 form permitting the attorney to act as employer representative.
- STEP 1: Howard University files the I-140 petition along with evidence that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the category. Howard University files priority worker petitions under the category, "Outstanding Professors and Researchers."
- STEP 2: Applicant files the Adjustment Petition with BCIS. The Adjustment petition includes Form I-485, and many other forms of documentation. The Adjustment Petition may be filed concurrently with the I-140 petition (above). If the applicant wishes to file the adjustment petition concurrently, the OISS will provide a copy of the I-140 receipt notice to send with the petition.
Priority Worker Application Packet
- STEP 1: Howard University files the Labor Certification Petition (ETA 750) with the DOL. There are several categories under which petitions can be filed. Overall time to approval of ETA 750 depends greatly upon the category type.
- STEP 2: On receipt of the approved ETA-750, Howard University files an I-140 petition under category "Advanced Degree Holders" with BCIS along with the original approved ETA 750 from the DOL.
- STEP 3: Applicant files the Adjustment Petition with BCIS. The Adjustment petition includes Form I-485, and many other forms of documentation. The Adjustment Petition may be filed concurrently with the I-140 petition (above). If the applicant wishes to file the adjustment petition concurrently, the OISS will provide a copy of the I-140 receipt notice to send with the petition.
Department of Labor Application Packet
On approval of the adjustment petition (for both types of application), the applicant will be instructed to visit a BCIS Office, usually the District Office in Buffalo, although some applicants have arranged to go to BCIS sub-district offices in Syracuse or Rochester. At this time, the applicant will receive an I-551 stamp in their passport. Once the I-551 stamp is obtained, the applicant is a US permanent resident, and can work and travel as a permanent resident. The actual permanent resident card generally arrives in the mail several months later.
Adjustment Application Packet
Processing times for each stage of the petitioning process vary widely. The OISS cannot predict processing times into the future, so our estimates regarding timing are always tentative. Generally, however, from start to finish, the path to permanent residence can take anywhere from 2.5 years to 6 years, depending upon filing methods available.
Adjustment to US Permanent Residence – the I-485 stage
(This information is provided for general information purposes by the Office of International Students Services at Howard University University, and does not constitute legal advice.)
PREPARING AND FILING THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTATION WITH US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
If filing from within the US, the adjustment to permanent resident petition (Form I-485) is completed/assembled and sent to USCIS after you have received notice of an approved Form I-140 Preference Petition, or have obtained a copy of Form I-140 receipt. If your Form I-140 was approved but there is a backlog for your country of residence, then you must wait until your priority (file) date becomes current. Current availability of numbers for employment based petitions can be checked at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html
If you do not yet have the forms required for Adjustment of Status, forms are also available at http://www.uscis.gov.
The entire process, from filing of Adjustment Petition to status as a Legal Permanent Resident takes approximately nineteen to thirty-six (19-36) months, but processing times vary widely and can change without warning.
Once the permanent residency stamp is obtained (in the passport), you are effectively a US Permanent Resident for travel and work purposes, though it will take several additional months before the actual Permanent Residence or Green card (not green) arrives in the mail.
Following, is a list of all of the forms and documentation you will need to file with USCIS, when applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence based on a Form I-140 employment based immigrant visa petition.
IMPORTANT! - Each immediate family member filing for adjustment, with you, must also submit their own adjustment petition. These should be clipped separately, but submitted in the same envelope as yours
The following documentation is required:
1. Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Resident
2. Filing fee of $1010.00 (for adults, includes the $80 biometric fee), in the form of a check or money order, made payable to "USCIS". The Form I-485 filing fee for an applicant under 14 is $600.00 if filing with the parent) Attach check to the top center of Form I-485 with staples or a paperclip.
3. Copy of Form I-140 Receipt or Approval Notice for the Form I-140 Petition (include a copy in each dependent family member’s petition also)
4. Form G-325A, Biographic Information. The form-fillable PDF will print two copies. Sign and submit both with the petition.
5. Two "passport photographs". They must be glossy, unretouched and unmounted, and have a white background. These photos must be taken within thirty (30) days of submitting to the USCIS. More photos required if submitting requests for a travel permit (I-131) and/or work permit (I-765), see below.
6. Copy of birth certificate (w/certified translation, if necessary)
7. Employer letter reiterating the offer of permanent employment for you. This can be the same letter that was submitted with Form I-140.
Each dependent family member ALSO needs Form I-864 completed by you.
8. Copy of current I-94 Card (small white card, usually stapled inside of passport)
9. Photocopy of Passport (photo page, and pages with visa & entry/exit stamps)
10. Documentation of nonimmigrant visa history since entry, including all approval notices, Form I-20, Form DS-2019 or IAP-66s, H1B approval notices, etc.
11. Form I-693, Medical Examination and Immunization Report; performed by a USCIS authorized physician (sent to USCIS in sealed envelope; to be opened by USCIS only). For authorized physicians see: http://www.immigration.com/dr/physicians.html
12. Certified Translation of Marriage Certification; (if applicable) for spouse’s petition only.
If Filing for Travel and Work Authorization the following will also be required:
Form I-765 - Employment Authorization, if necessary: It is possible to file a Form I-765 for employment authorization along with the adjustment packet. Two “green card” type photographs must be submitted with this application. Dependents may also file for work authorization at this time.
The OISS officially recommends the maintenance of H1B status throughout the adjustment period, for current H1B holders (if eligible).
If you choose, instead, to file for Employment Authorization, please note that YOU will be responsible for filing applications for renewal of work authorization.
Renewals need to be filed least ninety (90) days in advance (minimum), but sooner is better. There is no protection of employment eligibility should an Employment Authorization card fail to be approved before the expiration of the previous card.
Form I-131 - Advance Parole (Travel Permission), if necessary. NOTE: Once you have filed the application for adjustment of status with the USCIS, you may need to obtain a travel permit for re-entry to the US. If you are in valid H1B status, however, USCIS has taken the position that you may travel, apply for new visas (if necessary) and re-enter in H1B classification. If your H1B is expiring, or you are in another visa classification, you will need to EITHER file for a renewal of your H1B status (5-6 months in advance of expiration) OR file for Advance Parole on Form I-131. Please check with OISS for more details. If filing Form I-131, please take note of the following: In part 7 of the form, be sure to check the box “More than 1 trip”. On a separate piece of paper indicate why you need to travel, and be sure to request multiple entry advance parole permission so that you do not need to repeat this process if you choose to travel again. The form can be filed with the adjustment packet and should arrive approximately 6 -12 weeks later. Two “green card” type photographs must be submitted with this form.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS WITH REGARD TO FORMS
Answer all questions by either typing or printing neatly in black ink. If an item is not applicable, write "N/A". If your answer to a question is none, write "none". Leave no areas blank. If you need extra space to answer an item, attach an additional sheet of paper with your full name clearly marked. Also, indicate the number of the item from the application that you are extending to the additional sheet of paper.
Every application must be properly signed and filed with the correct fee.
REMEMBER TO MAKE A COMPLETE PHOTOCOPY OF ALL DOCUMENTATION YOU FILE WITH USCIS, FOR YOUR OWN RECORDS.
WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU MAIL THESE FORMS via a service that allows you to track and verify that your package has arrived!
What Happens Next?:
After several weeks (possibly months), USCIS should send you a receipt.
USCIS will also send you fingerprinting instructions, most likely no sooner than six (6) months from the date of filing.
For many applicants the USCIS final interview may be waived. If so, you will be sent an approval notice, followed by the card, by mail.
Please note that US Government mail can not be forwarded or held. It is important that you do not forward or have the Post Office hold your mail while your adjustment petition is pending. If the Post Office is unable to deliver a USCIS notice, it will be returned and your petition may be considered to be abandoned and will therefore be denied!
IF YOU ARE CALLED IN FOR AN USCIS "INTERVIEW":
Bring all original documents/certificates.
Arrive promptly at USCIS, dressed conservatively.
Follow the instructions of the USCIS officers and your USCIS examiner.
Ask you USCIS examiner his/her name
All tax returns filed in the United States