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International Services Office

Permanent Residence

A permanent resident (immigrant) of the U.S. has the right to live and work in the U.S. without the restrictions that affect non-immigrant visa holders (i.e. J-1, TN, F-1, H-1B). Permanent resident status may last a lifetime if the individual maintains resident status and avoids an uninterrupted absence from the U.S. of more than two years. Permanent residents may, but are not required to, apply for naturalization to U.S. citizenship after residing in the U.S. for five consecutive years.

There are five ways to obtain permanent residency:

  1. Through the petition of a close relative
  2. By a successful application for political asylum
  3. Through the petition of an employer
  4. Through a petition to have your work recognized as in the national interest
  5. By winning the annual green card lottery

If you have filed or plan to file an application for immigrant status, please notify the International Services Office. It may affect your current non-immigrant status and ability to travel.

For further information, please visit the USCIS web page.

Permanent Resident Applications

TSRI Sponsored Permanent Resident Applications: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations require that a beneficiary is employed by a U.S. employer in a permanent, tenured, or tenured-track position to be eligible for permanent resident sponsorship under the Outstanding Researcher Category. TSRI, therefore, cannot legally sponsor postdoctoral fellows (Research Associates or Senior Research Associates) under this employment based category because these positions are neither permanent nor tenure-track. As a minimum, beneficiaries must be employed as Staff Scientists or Assistant Professors (or above) to be eligible for sponsorship through TSRI. Position title alone does not guarantee TSRI sponsorship; sponsorship is determined on a case by case basis. Employer-sponsored petitions are referred by the International Services Office to an immigration law firm, and only the International Services Office Manager is authorized to sign the application Form I-140 on behalf of TSRI.

Self Sponsored Petitions: The National Interest Waiver Category, however, does NOT require a permanent job offer. Instead, the applicant must demonstrate to DHS that the permanent job offer should be waived because the work or profession is in the nation's interest. The applicant initiates such petitions on their own, usually with the assistance of an attorney. Since the applicant self-sponsors, it is the applicant him/herself who must sign the Form I-140.

Faculty may be asked by a post-doctoral fellow as a mentor or colleague to provide a support letter to attest to his/her scientific skills or knowledge. You should feel free to provide such assistance provided that your letter does not state that The Scripps Research Institute is employing or intends to employ the individual in a permanent position. Faculty do NOT sign the Form I-140.

Some faculty have erroneously believed it is acceptable to sign Form I-140 for postdoctoral fellows “applying on his/her own” because TSRI is not processing the application nor paying the attorney fees. This is NOT correct. DHS can impose fraud charges and fines against any individual who is not authorized to sign such petitions. Faculty should contact the International Services Office for guidance before signing any immigration related documents.