Sponsoring an Employee for Permanent U.S. Residence - Green Card

A valid U.S. green card, also called an immigrant visa, allows an alien to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and to work legally, travel abroad and return, bring in a spouse and children, and become eligible for citizenship. Review the university's Permanent Residence Policy

The employee's OU department must initiate the sponsorship process by contacting HR International Faculty and Staff Services. To comply with the university's Permanent Resident policy, departments must: 

  1. Contact HR International Faculty and Staff Services before making any verbal or written agreement with a prospective employee regarding permanent residence sponsorship. 
  2. Discuss the worker's expectations regarding permanent residence with the foreign national.

Under no circumstances can the hiring department make any guarantee of sponsorship for permanent residence to a foreign worker. Because of the complexity of employment-based sponsorship, it is impossible for any employer to guarantee that its efforts will be successful. Therefore, the hiring department can only commit to the endeavor of sponsoring a foreign worker for permanent residence. 


OU departments are responsible for the fee payment described below:
  1. Petition for Immigrant Worker on USCIS Form I-140
    Employer-sponsored EB-1(2) and EB-2 categories (not filing NIW): Base Filing Fee: $700
  2. USCIS Premium Processing Service: USCIS provides expedited processing for $2500 in addition to the above fees. University guidelines require departments to provide justification for this cost. Review the University Visa Fee Policy for more information.
  3. HR International Faculty and Staff Services (IFSS) Office Fees: IFSS offers immigration services provided by an in-house immigration attorney and administrative staff. These services are currently provided at no charge to the department or participant. OU remains one of the few schools offering these services at no charge. Requests that require expedited attention or do not provide minimum notice to our office may eventually force our office to charge fees.

Required: Contact IFSS

All requests for the employment of foreign nationals at the University of Oklahoma must be processed through IFSS. Only the IFSS staff is authorized to sign the legal documents and forms required to sponsor international scholars and staff.

There are numerous nonimmigrant employment-based visa categories.  In all cases, the foreign national must meet specific requirements related to the occupation for which the employer is petitioning. 

Under no circumstances should the hiring department make any guarantee of sponsorship to a foreign worker for any immigration benefit.  Due to the complexity of employment-based sponsorship, it is impossible for any employer to guarantee that its efforts to secure USCIS employment authorization will be successful.

Foreign workers will be required to follow the New Hire appointment process for employees of OU. Positions that are eligible for sponsorship as a nonimmigrant worker can be found in the IFSS University Appointment Eligibility Chart.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides the following definitions for the purposes of permanent employment of aliens in the U.S.

Definitions accordion


Employer: A person, association, firm, or a corporation that currently has a location within the United States to which U.S. workers may be referred for employment and that proposes to employ a full-time employee at a place within the United States, or the authorized representative of such a person, association, firm, or corporation. An employer must possess a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). For purposes of this definition, an “authorized representative” means an employee of the employer whose position or legal status authorizes the employee to act for the employer in labor certification matters. A labor certification cannot be granted for an Application for Permanent Employment Certification filed on behalf of an independent contractor.


Employment: Permanent, full-time work by an employee for an employer other than oneself. For purposes of this definition, an investor is not an employee. In the event of an audit, the employer must be prepared to document the permanent and full-time nature of the position by furnishing position descriptions and payroll records for the job opportunity involved in the Application for Permanent Employment Certification.


Affiliated: An affiliated or related nonprofit entity, including but not limited to hospitals and medical or research institutions, is connected or associated with an institution of higher education, through shared ownership or control by the same board or federation operated by an institution of higher education, or attached to an institution of higher education as a member, branch, cooperative or subsidiary. 

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