James Madison University, at its discretion, may sponsor qualifying international employees for “employment-based” permanent residency.  Permanent residency permits a foreign national to reside and work in the United States permanently. 

The following information identifies and describes the common categories JMU supports for Permanent Residency and outlines the process.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Jonathan Kratz, Director of International Student and Scholar Services, in the Center for Global Engagement.

Eligibility of Positions for Permanent Residency (PR) Sponsorship:

  • Positions are full-time, paid, and will meet the prevailing wage rates as set by the US Department of Labor, and an expectation of continued employment.
  • Funding for the position must be sustainable.
  • Position requires a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Position is significant and meets institutional needs as documented by the department.

See Categories and Eligibility for Sponsorship below.

Categories and Eligibility for Sponsorship

Outstanding Professors and Researchers are for tenure track faculty or permanent researchers who can show international recognition as being outstanding in a specific academic area. They must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area and are pursuing a permanent/tenure track position.

In order to be eligible for an EB-1B outstanding professor or researcher, the petition must satisfy 2 of the 6 listed criteria below:

  • 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 noncitizen'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

For this category, JMU would request the use of a State approved law firm to complete the process.  The legal fees would be at the expense of the Dept.  (Contact ISSS for details on fees)  

An advantage of this category is a shorter processing time, since it does not require the filing of the Labor Certification.  Additionally, when the priority date is current, the beneficiary may file the Adjustment of Status (I-485) currently with the I-140 Petition or immediately following the I-140 approval.

To qualify for the EB-2 Professionals category, the individual is in a position that requires an advanced degree (Master’s or above), or a Bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of experience, as a minimum requirement. The requirement for EB-3 is a Bachelor's degree or two years' experience.

In most situations, ISSS will process the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) based permanent resident cases for JMU’s foreign nationals.   In unique situations, JMU may outsource the PERM cases to state approved law firms.   

Overview of Process:

There are two kinds of PERM: Special Handling PERM and regular PERM. Under the Special Handling PERM, a university may sponsor a foreign national to become permanent resident through competitive recruitment and selection process as long as the foreign national is found to be more qualified than any of the U.S. workers who apply for the job.

The regular PERM requires the employer to test the labor market through recruiting U.S. workers. Only when there are no any qualified, available, and willing U.S. workers to take the job, a U.S. employer can sponsor a foreign national to be a permanent resident.

Phase I – PERM Application (for Positions with Teaching Components)

  1. PERM Special Handling Process
  • Position Posting – Ensure all requirements are included in the job advertisement to meet the PERM filing standards.
  • Position must be full time and require some degree of teaching
  • Job Ad in a national professional journal (once for in print or 30 days for online)
  • Faculty Selection Statement - The foreign national must meet the advertised requirements
  • The filing of the Prevailing Wage Determination Form ETA 9141 with the Dept. of Labor (DOL)
  • Notice of Filing – 30 days before filing (no need to list salary)
  • Form ETA 9089 (PERM) filed within 18 months of the date of selection (date of offer)
  • ETA 9089 PERM certified by DOL


When to start a PERM Special Handling case? Within 8 months of hiring.

Need documents:

  • Selected Candidate’s resume, diploma, and transcript
  • Job Posting(s)
  • Faculty Selection Statement - Final report that made the recommendation or selection of the foreign national


  1. PERM Regular Process (for non-teaching positions):
  • Drafting the Position Ad (job title, Job duties, degree and experience requirements) by Department and ISSS
  • Requesting Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from DOL by ISSS
  • Recruitment (less than 180 days and more than 30 days prior to filing PERM) conducted by ISSS and HR

Three Mandatory Recruitments:

  • Job Order with the State’s Workforce Agency for 30 days
  • Two Sunday advertisements in a newspaper of general circulation appropriate to the type of employment
  • Internal Notice of Filing for 10 business days

Three Additional Advertisements out of ten options: job fairs, employer’s website, job search website other than the employer’s, on-campus recruiting, trade or professional organizations, private employment firms, campus placement offices, employee referral program, local or ethnic newspapers, and radio and television advertisements.

  • Recruitment Report describing the recruitment steps undertaken and the results, the number of hire, and the lawful job-related reasons for rejecting each U.S. worker applicant
  • PERM Application filed by ISSS
  • PERM certified by DOL

Need documents:

  • Job description including job title, job duties, and job requirements
  • Candidate Employee’s resume, diploma, and transcripts
  • Candidate’s work experience certificates

Phase II – I-140 Petition

Once a PERM application is certified (approved) by DOL, the employer must file an I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition with USCIS within six months of the approval date of the PERM application. I-140 Petition must show that the employer has the financial ability to pay the proffered wage and the foreign national possesses the education, experience, and skills required in the PERM application.

Phase III - I-485 Application (to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence by Foreign National)

The final step in the permanent residence process is an I-485 application filed by the foreign national to adjust status to permanent residence. The foreign national’s spouse and children under 21 years old may also file their own applications as the dependents.

The following documents will be needed for filing the I-485: 

  • Completed Form I-485
  • Approval Notice of I-140
  • Completed Medical Examination Form I-693 (exam conducted by a civil surgeon designated by USCIS)
  • A complete immigration history with supporting documents
  • All associated fees
  • All documents and fees for dependents, if applicable*

*All expenses for dependents are the responsibility of the employee. 

The final approval notice and Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) will be sent directly to the employee.

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