Process Outline

(for applications involving Labor Certification)

Authorization and Pre-Filing Steps
  • Reves Center contacts the department chair and meets with the employee to discuss process, costs, and W&M policy.
  • Reves center coordinates with University Counsel to secure authorization from the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia to engage outside counsel to initiate permannet residency sponsorship.
  • If there is agreement to authorize an application on behalf of the employee, the employee and chair complete and sign the W&M Permanent Residency Sponsorship Agreement (pdf). The appropriate dean must also sign the sponsorship agreement.
  • If the department is also financially supporting the application - offering any funding beyond the Labor Certification costs - the Financial Agreement portion must also be completed and signed.
  • Reves Center refers employee to the immigration attorney to complete information intake forms, be briefed on the fee schedule, etc.
Stage 1: Labor Certification

Labor Certification is an application to the Department of Labor, to certify that it is in the best interest of the U.S. labor force to sponsor this person for permanent residence.

The Reves Center collects documents from the EEO and the academic department, and compiles a Recruitment Report, which is sent to the immigration attorney. The attorney then drafts a Labor Certification application; after it is reviewed by the Reves Center and the employee, the attorney will file it with the Department of Labor.

It normally takes about 4-8 months for the Department of Labor to process an application. Once approved, one may move on to Stage 2.

The costs for Labor Certification are paid by College. All costs beyond this are the employee's responsibility and are direct billed by the attorney to him/her.

Note for tenure track teaching faculty: The application for Labor Certification must be filed no later than 18 months from the date of the offer letter from the dean. To allow data collection and preparation of the application, employees must contact the Reves Center no later than 12 months from date of the letter from the dean.

Stage 2: Form I-140 - Petition for Immigrant Worker

Form 1-140 is an application to Immigration for a permanent residency "slot" for an employee; an I-140 demonstrates that the employer is qualified as the petitioner, and the employee is qualified as the beneficiary.

The attorney drafts the I-140 for the Reves Center and employee review and sign, after which the attorney will file the I-140 application with Immigration, along with supporting documents.

It can take 6-12 months for an I-140 to be processed by Immigration. If there is no immigrant visa backlog, Stage 2 and State 3 can be filed at the same time.

Stage 3: Form I-485 - Adjustment of Status

Form I-485 is an application to Immigration to "adjust" the employee's immigration status from temporary to permanent.

The employee must first obtain a medical exam from a U.S. civil surgeon. The attorney will draft the I-485 for the employee to review, after which the attorney will file the form with supporting forms and documents. The employee will be contacted by Immigration to have biometrics taken; a request for an interview is also possible. If applicable, the employee's spouse and children may be added at this stage; if the employee's application is approved, they also receive permanent residency.

It takes about 12-14 months for an I-485 to be processed. If there is no immigrant visa backlog, Stage 2 and Stage 3 can be filed at the same time.

Once the I-485 is approved, the employee is a permanent resident. He/she will receive a "green card" in the mail; once it's received, the employee must bring it to Human Resources for a new I-9 to be completed. The employee must also send a copy of it to the Reves Center to be included in his/her immigration file.

Questions about permanent residency sponsorship process or policies at William & Mary should be directed to:

[[sjsech, Stephen Sechrist]]

Director of International Students, Scholars, and Programs
Reves Center for International Studies
College of William & Mary
Tel. (757) 221-3437/ fax (757) 221-3597