Legal Permanent Resident

Becoming an LPR

Northwestern University is pleased to sponsor foreign nationals on nonimmigrant visas for Legal Permanent Resident status, also known as green card. Since this is an employment-based petition, all sponsorship questions must be directed to the hiring department and the immediate supervisor.

What are the various categories of LPR?

  • Faculty: The university will sponsor tenured and tenure-eligible faculty for permanent residence in the U.S. at the request of the appropriate department, when it is endorsed by the School Dean.
  • Research Staff and Non-Tenure-Eligible Faculty: The university will sponsor highly qualified research staff and non-tenure-eligible faculty upon the recommendation of his/her department and endorsed by the School Dean and the Provost or the Vice President for Research, respectively. Such a recommendation should be predicated on the following evidence:
    • The individual should have been employed at Northwestern for at least two years, preferably in the same position.
    • There is a high likelihood of continued funding for the position for at least three additional years.
  • Non-Research Staff: Positions that are not within the domain of the Vice President for Research may be considered, if the position is deemed to be critical to the functioning of the unit and the individual has been employed at Northwestern for at least two years. Such requests must be submitted to the School Dean or the Vice President in which the employee's office is situated.

What are the various categories of sponsorship?

  • Outstanding Professor or Researcher
  • Standard Labor certification or PERM for all non-tenure eligible faculty, researchers, research faculty and staff
  • Special Handling Labor Certification or PERM for tenure-eligible faculty

Labor certification under the special handling for tenure-eligible faculty must be filed within 18 months of the date of offer. Once the window closes, or if there were no print advertisements placed by the department at the time of the original hire, then the department must follow the requirements for the Standard Labor Certification. Standard Labor Certification will lengthen the processing time of an LPR application.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

The university will not sponsor post-doctoral employees for permanent residence.

Becoming an LPR

Becoming a Legal Permanent Resident is dependent on the following process:

  • The hiring department submits a request to the IO.
  • The IO reviews and approves the request.
  • Upon approval, the IO will send an e-mail to the department and the beneficiary.
  • The IO will request that the beneficiary select an attorney from the list of approved attorneys (link to list).
  • Once an attorney has been chosen, the IO will notify the chosen attorney of sponsorship.

Associated Costs: Preparation, Filing, and Obtaining a Labor Certification

All costs associated with the preparation, filing, and obtaining a labor certification (both faculty and standard) must be paid by the sponsoring department. This includes all costs associated with advertisements, attorney/legal fees, and the IO processing fee. Sponsoring departments may not request any reimbursements, nor should a beneficiary offer to reimburse the department.

Impact on H-1B

It is recommended that beneficiaries keep their underlying H-1B status valid until the adjustment application (I-485) is approved. Extension beyond the six-year limit is possible, provided the labor certification or the I-140 has been pending for more than a year. Please consult with IO Scholar Services for further details on filing extensions beyond six years.


Dependents will be included on the I-140, Immigrant Petition. Depending upon the availability of immigrant visas it is possible to file the adjustment application as well; however, this varies by country. Including dependents on the I-140 enables them to apply for employment authorization, even if they are in H-4 status.

Please consult with the IO if dependents wish to apply for employment authorization. All dependent children under the age of 21 can also be included in the immigrant petition. If there is a child that will age-out (i.e. will reach the age of 21) before the green card is adjudicated, he/she must file for an independent status. The IO can be of assistance in filing a change of status application in such cases.

Address Changes

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will not forward mail from USCIS even if there is a forwarding address on file. All addresses must be updated using Form AR-11 within 10 days of a change in address.


Returning to the U.S. after travel abroad is permitted provided the following conditions are met:

  • H-1B is valid
  • H-1B visa stamp is valid
  • The passport is valid

If there is a pending I-485, and the underlying H-1B is not valid, then an alien must apply for a travel document called Advanced Parole before leaving the U.S. Otherwise, the adjustment application is deemed to have been abandoned if the beneficiary leaves the U.S.

Please contact Scholar Services at the IO with any questions regarding travel.