There are a few terms used to describe legal permanent residency in the U.S. The terms immigrant, green card holder, legal permanent resident, and resident alien all mean that the person has permission from immigration to reside in the U.S. permanently. The official name is Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. Persons who hold LPR status may remain in the U.S. permanently and live and work wherever they wish. Obtaining LPR status has no effect on current citizenship, and LPR holders need to maintain a valid home country passport at all times. In general, LPRs have some of the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as U.S. citizens. However, LPRs may not vote in government elections, serve on juries at trials, nor hold some elected offices or government jobs. Typically, persons holding LPR status for 5 years may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
There are several employment-based categories for permanent residency. Common categories for Missouri State employees include EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3. For ranking of the visa preference categories, review https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers.
Permanent Residency Policy
Process for Applying for Permanent Residency
The International Services office will contact the foreign national, department head and dean that the time has come that the foreign national once the individual can be placed before the PRAC Committee. It is then up to the department/college to discuss with the foreign national whether they are willing to sponsor permanent residency. Once that decision is made, the department head must contact the International Services office to let them know what that decision is and what the next steps are.
If the decision is not to sponsor the foreign national for permanent residency:
If the foreign national is in their first 3 years of H-1B status, they will have one extension for another 3 years available to them before they would have to leave the U.S.
If the decision is to sponsor the foreign national for permanent residency:
The department must complete the Permanent Residency Department Form and supply the required documents to the International Services office. These documents will go to the Permanent Residency Approval Committee (PRAC) for review and vote if the university also agrees to sponsor the foreign national. Once the PRAC have met and made a decision, the foreign national, department head and dean will be notified of the decision.
If PRAC decides that the university would sponsor the foreign national for permanent residency, then the foreign national contacts one of the attorneys from the recommended attorney list to initiate the process.
Once permanent residency has been approved by USCIS, the International Services office needs a copy of the green card (front and back).
Fees for Permanent Residency
Missouri State University uses immigration attorneys for our immigration purposes, which handles H-1B and Permanent Residency petitions. Individual attorney fees can vary greatly depending on:
- the attorney being utilized
- the type of case being filed
- classification of employee
Items involved in permanent filing cases:
|Labor Certification Process Fees*|
|$1,750-3,000||Laber Certification legal fees for attorney (required)|
|$500-750||Labor Certification audit, if needed|
|$50-100||Miscellaneous university administrative processing fees (mailing, etc.)|
|*To be paid by the university department.|
|Permanent Residency Petition Filing Process Fees|
|$700||I-140 petition filing fee|
|$1,225||I-485 petition filing fee|
|$2,000-3,500||Permanent residency petition legal fees for attorney, plus expenses like copying, phone conversations, etc.|
|$1,225||Any additional I-485 petition(s), if needed*|
|*For dependent family members (spouse and/or non-U.S. citizen children)-employee pays any additional petitions for dependent family members (spouse and/or non-U.S. citizen children)|
The attorneys listed below have been approved by the President to represent both the University and the employee in all permanent residency applications sponsored by the University. In order to use an attorney not on the recommended and approved list, the employee must get approval from the President first. All requests must go through the General Counsel's Office to be submitted to the President for recommendation. There is no guarantee that the General Counsel's Office will make a recommendation on the employee's behalf, nor is there a guarantee that the President will approve a recommendation. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that individuals utilize one of the attorneys listed below.