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Sponsorship Filing Process

Outline of the General Process
  1. Identification of the employee who seeks permanent residency sponsorship. This is handled by employee and the sponsoring department/office in consultation with the Director of ISSP. It is presumed that employees entering tenure eligible faculty positions will be sponsored for permanent residency.
  2. Execution of Permanent Residency Sponsorship and Financial Agreement
    • Documentation of critical expertise (for professional and operational staff)
    • Commitment to funding costs of Labor Certification (PERM) and agreement on remaining costs
    • Commitment to undergo steps of reselection/recruitment, including revision of position description if necessary, postings, review of applicants
    • Signed by employee, unit manager, senior manager (dean, vice provost, or vice president), and Director of ISSP
  3. The Director of ISSP will request the Office of University Counsel to secure authorization from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to engage an attorney for the preparation of labor certification and filing of the immigration petition. For non-teaching positions, the preparation for labor certification will also involve guiding the university in recruiting for the position.
  4. Once the OAG has granted authorization, the Director of ISSP will formally refer the employee. For teaching faculty cases, the Director of ISSP will request a copy of documents from the recruitment file from the Office of Human Resources and the department. 
  5. In cases where reselection/recruitment is required, the revision of the position description, posting of the position, purchase of the advertising, and review of applicants will be handled by the department/hiring unit in collaboration with the Director of ISSP and the Office of Human Resources. These steps will be guided directly by the attorney.
  6. Attorney will secure a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor based on the revised position description and if the outcome of reselection/recruitment renders the employee eligible for sponsorship using labor certification, the attorney will prepare the labor certification application.
  7. Director of ISSP will review the labor certification draft and sign the approved labor certification once certified by Department of Labor.
  8. Attorney will prepare the petition for immigrant worker (I-140) and employer support letter. Director of ISSP will sign and forward to attorney to file.
  9. If the employee wishes, they may engage the same attorney to file the I-485. The university is usually not involved in this part of the process.
  10. Once USCIS approves the I-485, the employee is a permanent resident. If the employee chooses consular processing in lieu of adjustment of status (I-485), the employee will obtain permanent resident status upon admission to the US with an immigrant visa issued by a US consulate. The employee should update the Director of ISSP when they have received permanent residency.
Positions with and without formal classroom teaching duties

Within the higher education context, the inclusion of formal classroom teaching duties in a position has significant bearing on Labor Certification review standard and process. These are outlined below.

Positions without formal classroom teaching duties (Non-teaching positions)

Recruitment requirements: For positions that do not include formal, classroom teaching duties, W&M must follow specific Department of Labor regulations that govern the posting locations and content of the job ad. This process is carefully coordinated with the attorney handling the case. Recruitment is more localized in its approach, and includes posting in the following locations:

  • Internal posting at worksite
  • Posting with the Virginia Employment Commission
  • 2 Sunday newspapers (Daily Press) or 1 Sunday paper and 1 professional journal
  • Plus, at least three more of the following:
    • W&M jobs website
    • Campus placement office
    • Local or ethnic newspaper
    • Job fair
    • Job website (e.g.
    • Non employer website
    • Radio or TV ad
    • Private employment firm

Review standard for Labor Certification: For a foreign national to meet the labor certification standard to be eligible for permanent residency sponsorship, W&M must establish that the recruitment yielded no minimally qualified U.S. worker willing and able to take the position.

Positions with formal classroom teaching duties (Teaching positions)

The standard and process for sponsorship of positions with formal, classroom teaching duties, typically teaching faculty, differs in two key areas from employees without teaching responsibilities.

For purposes of this policy, formal classroom teaching responsibilities are defined as teaching responsibilities formally written into the position description, in which the incumbent is faculty of record for (a) credit-bearing undergraduate or graduate course(s) offered by W&M, and the course/courses is/are offered at least annually.

Reselection requirements: In conducting the reselection process for teaching positions, W&M may use its own competitive process provided that it includes a job advertisement in a national professional journal. Federal regulations prescribe specific information that must be contained in the advertisement but the ad may be in print form or in electronic form. If it is in electronic form, it must run for at least 30 consecutive days. In the department, an internal notice must also be posted for 10 days.

Review standard for Labor Certification: In the review of applicants, a foreign national who is deemed the best qualified applicant of the pool would meet the labor certification standard for permanent residency sponsorship. The university does not have to establish that there were no minimally qualified U.S. workers available and willing to take the position.

Timeline: The filing of labor certification must occur no later than 18 months from the date of selection in the reselection process. For teaching faculty, that date is the date of the letter of intent from the office of the dean of the school. For other positions involving teaching duties, that date is the date of the letter of offer from the hiring unit.

Questions about permanent residency sponsorship process or policies at William & Mary should be directed to [[ywong, Eva Wong]], Director of International Students, Scholars & Programs.