Global Engagement

Permanent Residency Petitions

Clemson University welcomes the contributions of scholars from all over the world in carrying out its mission. Employer-sponsored applications for permanent residency help assure the on-going involvement of the alien (defined as a person who is not a citizen or national of the US) in the life of the university and the work for which the employee was hired. Given below is a general explanation of Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) Status for aliens. This is followed by Clemson's policy for assisting aliens with permanent residency sponsorship. Questions concerning lawful permanent residency sponsorship should be directed to the Director of International Services.

To initiate the process of sponsoring an alien employee for a green card, please complete the Form IS-450, Request for Permanent Residency Application. Send the completed Form IS-450 to International Services (IS). When this form is received, IS will contact you to schedule an advising session with you and your alien employee to describe the steps and to initiate your communication with the University's legal representatives in this process.

Please review the University's Guidelines below, to determine the required amount of financial support by your department for this immigration process. 

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status

Generally, an alien may work in the United States under the employer's approved, temporary H-1B status for up to six years. In order for the alien to reside and work permanently in the US, he or she must apply for and be granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. LPR, symbolized by the so-called "green card," confers foreign nationals the right to live and work in the US without time limitations. While working under the employer's H-1B benefit, an alien may be eligible to apply for LPR status by way of employer sponsorship. The US Congress has designated employment based groups to which it gives aliens preference in immigrating to the US. Please see for more complete information.

Clemson University utilizes outside legal counsel to advise and assist the University with the process of sponsoring our alien employees for LPR status in the US. Under most circumstances, University policy requires the department be responsible for legal fees incurred to sponsor the alien employee.

There are two exceptions to this general rule. First, aliens of "extraordinary ability" are not required to have obtained an offer of permanent employment and many aliens choose to self-petition for this immigration benefit. Second, the offer of employment requirement may be waived on "national interest" grounds, if determined by USCIS. Some aliens choose to file their own personal immigrant petition with USCIS for this benefit. The department is not required to cover these expenses, but may choose to do so if the employee files for a green card under either of these two exceptions. Please contact the Office of International Services at for further information.

Procedures for an employee to obtain LPR through employment often are complicated. We suggest you read our LPR information page for a brief introduction and also the web pages of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The USCIS website has extensive information. The following are Clemson University's policy guidelines for Clemson-sponsored LPR petitions.

Clemson University Policy Guidelines

Revised January 2009

University Sponsored Labor Certification Application: To be in compliance with federal regulations, Clemson University requires that the hiring department pay all costs associated with the filing of University Sponsored Permanent Labor Certification Applications, ETA-9089 for all employees.

Tenured and Tenure-track Faculty: For tenured and tenure-track international faculty, the hiring department will provide up to $5,000.00 to support the permanent residency application process. Only one of the immigration attorney(s) designated by Clemson University and approved by the South Carolina Attorney General's office can be used for this purpose. A list of University approved attorneys can be found below.

Non-Tenured and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: For non-tenured or non-tenure-track faculty positions, there is no expectation that the hiring department will pay legal fees. The department may choose to offer a taxable bonus up to $5,000.00 to be paid to the faculty member, minus the costs associated with preparing and filing Permanent Labor Certification Application, to help defray costs associated with the process. If the hiring department pays for any portion of the permanent residency process, an attorney designated by Clemson University must be used.

Sponsorship with No Payment: If an employee is paying all costs associated with the permanent residency application process (labor certification is not required), Clemson University may sponsor the employee for lawful permanent residence. In that case, please contact IS for detailed information.

Payment of Legal Fees by Clemson University: If an attorney designated by Clemson University must be used or is used, the attorney will invoice the University through the General Counsel's Office and the Office of International Affairs will invoice the hiring department and make payment to the attorney. The department must fill out Form IS-450 and submit it to IS at the Office of International Affairs before any payments will be approved. 

Authorized Immigration Attorneys: If a payment from Clemson University is involved, one must use one of the following immigration attorneys approved by the South Carolina Attorney General's Office to represent Clemson University in immigration cases.

Larry Needle
Lawrence J. Needle, P.A.
P.O. Box 924
339 Heyward Street
Columbia, SC 29202
Tel: 803-376-1203
Fax: 803-376-1204

Garrett D. Steck
Special Counsel
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd P.A.
75 Beattie Place, 11th Floor
Greenville, SC 29601
Tel: 864-240-3316

Karen Weinstock
Managing Attorney
Weinstock Immigration Lawyers
200 Ashford Center North, Suite 220
Atlanta, GA 30338
Tel: 770-913-0800 
Fax: 770-913-0888 

Signature Authority: The International Services office is the only Clemson University office authorized to sign any immigration documents on behalf of Clemson University.