Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR)

Clemson University is pleased to welcome an increasing number of international faculty, staff, and students on campus. International Services, as part of the Office of Global Engagement (OGE), assists Clemson's research and education community by facilitating visa petitions for both non-immigrant and immigrant employees. Our office prepares and submits visa applications for employees with J-1, H-1B, E-3, and TN status. We work with immigration attorneys, approved by the South Carolina Attorney General, to aid the University in filing employment-based permanent residency applications for qualified faculty and staff.

  • Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR)

    Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are non-citizens who are lawfully authorized to live permanently within the U.S. LPRs may accept an offer of employment without special restrictions, own property, receive financial assistance at public colleges and universities, and join the Armed Forces. LPR status is different from U.S. citizenship since LPRs remain nationals of their home country and may not vote or hold elected office in the U.S. They may apply to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

    To apply for LPR status, you must be eligible under one of the Eligibility Categories. U.S. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides information on each of these categories here.

  • Clemson University LPR Guidance (revised 05/2022)

    The University's requirements for sponsoring foreign nationals for permanent residence (a "green card") ensure compliance with federal law and regulations and guide academic and administrative units regarding the University's internal procedures for approval of such sponsorship.

    Applying for employment-based permanent residence is a complex process and the assistance of an immigration attorney with expertise in employment-based permanent residence applications for university faculty and researchers should be considered.

    If Clemson is contributing any amount for legal services fees, one of three immigration attorneys, approved by the South Carolina Attorney General, must be used to prepare, and file employment-based permanent residence applications. Each of the three approved attorneys provides limited free consultations to Clemson employees to discuss the options available for filing the permanent residence application.  The list of approved attorneys can be found below. 

    Hiring departments will pay up to $5,000 in legal services fees to sponsor qualified employees for employment-based permanent residency.  No department may pay more than $5,000 in legal services fees. Legal services fees are the attorney fees and associated legal costs for copying, and mailing fees charged by the attorney who prepares and files the immigration case. Legal services fees can vary depending on the "preference type" of the permanent residence application, for example, EB-1 or EB-2, etc.

    Hiring departments may, at their discretion, pay up to an additional $5,000 in USCIS filing fees. Distinct from the legal services fees, filing fees are the required form fees to be paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to file employment-based permanent residence applications.

    Employees are personally responsible for:

    • Any attorney fees above $5,000 and USCIS filing fees not paid by the hiring department, and
    • Any filing fees associated with any dependents included in the application. Dependent fees are currently $1,225 for the spouse and $750 per child.

    Current Filing Fees:

    Since each of the forms below requires University signatures, each document must be created and submitted to USCIS by one of the University's three approved immigration attorneys.

    • PERM
      • PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management system, governed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and is the first and most crucial step in the green card application. In filing a "PERM" with the DOL, employers attest that they plan to hire a foreign national and have taken specific steps to recruit U.S. workers but have been unable to locate a qualified U.S. worker for the position.
      • Filing a PERM is typically included in legal services fees. However, filing for employment-based permanent residency outside the 18-month window for "special handling" may increase the cost of filing a PERM. Additional information on "special handling" is found below.
    • Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
      • Once the DOL approves a PERM application, an I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition must be filed with USCIS within six months of the approval date of the PERM application.
      • The current USCIS filing fee is $700, and the USCIS processing time is 5-24.5 months.
    • Premium Processing of I-140.
      • Premium processing provides expedited processing for the I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Specifically, USCIS guarantees processing of the I-140 within 15 calendar days of receipt by USCIS.
      • The current USCIS filing fee for premium processing is $2,500.
    • Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
      • Once the attorney has filed an I-140, the employee may apply for lawful permanent resident status using the I-485 if an immigrant visa is available. USCIS must approve the employee's I-140 before USCIS can process the I‑485.
      • The current USCIS filing fee for an I-485 is $1,140 for adults and $750 for a minor dependent (child under 14 and filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent).
    • Form I-485 Supplement J: Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer.
      • This form confirms that the job offered in the I-140 remains a bona fide job offer that the employee intends to accept once USCIS approves the Form I-485.
      • The current USCIS filing fee for an I-485 Supplement J is $0.

    Special Note Regarding Hiring of Faculty Who Are Either Tenured, Tenure Track, or on Long-Term Contracts:
    For standard professorial rank faculty members who are tenured, on a tenure track, or on long-term contracts, requests to sponsor an individual for employment-based permanent residence should be made soon after hiring.

    In many circumstances, foreign nationals hired for tenure track positions must obtain a "labor certification," or PERM, from the DOL to obtain permanent residence through employment. Under immigration law, college and university teachers are eligible for "special handling," which allows the University to establish that it hired a foreign national after a competitive recruitment and selection process that included advertising in a national publication. Unlike a standard labor certification, special handling enables the University to use the completed competitive recruitment instead of conducting new 60-day recruitment.

    To utilize "special handling," an attorney must file a labor certification, PERM, application with the DOL within eighteen (18) months of offering the job to the new employee. The 18-month clock begins when the faculty member is offered the job and not when the appointment is approved.

    To qualify for "special handling," the DOL requires advertising for the faculty position to be conducted in a professional journal with national circulation. Acceptable advertising includes a print ad in a national publication or a 30-day online posting with a national professional journal's electronic or web-based version. If the recruitment does not comply with the DOL's regulations, employers will not be able to take advantage of the "special handling" process. Not using "special handling" will increase the cost of obtaining employment-based permanent residence and be much more time-consuming for the employee and the University. Any candidate pool that includes foreign nationals must consist of at least one print ad in a national professional publication or a 30-day online posting with a national professional journal's electronic or web-based version.

    Disclaimer: While the University will expend reasonable efforts to obtain immigration benefits for a foreign national sponsored for permanent residence, the process does not guarantee permanent residence approval or U.S. work authorization as the U.S. government is solely responsible for approving petitions and applications and determining eligibility for any immigration benefit based on education, experience, background, family relationships, prior immigration history, and criminal background.

    This summary is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.  We will strive to keep this information updated as fee amounts change but always encourage individuals to research or reach out for the most up-to-date information. 

    An individual always has the right to seek his/her own attorney for representation, but Clemson cannot pay any amount towards legal services fees or filing fees for attorneys who are not on Clemson’s approved list. 

    If you have questions about the information above, please contact International Services for assistance. 

  • SC Attorney General Approved Immigration Attorneys

    If Clemson University will submit fees or signatures to sponsor an employee for employment-based permanent residency, the hiring department and employee must work with one of the following immigration attorneys, approved by the SC Attorney General's Office, to prepare and submit the LPR application. 

    In alphabetical order:

     Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

    • Special Counsel - Garrett D. Steck.
    • Located in Greenville, Charleston, Columbia, and Florence, South Carolina.
    • Phone is (864) 240-3300.
    • Offers free initial consultations on legal permanent residency for Clemson faculty/staff.
    • Founded over 125 years ago, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. has grown to include more than 115 attorneys at multiple locations across the state. This firm stands apart due to the depth of experience in a broad spectrum of litigation and transactional practice areas. We efficiently obtain temporary employment-based nonimmigrant visas for foreign nationals and facilitate the complex permanent residency process.

    Lawrence J. Needle, P.A. | South Carolina Immigration Lawyer

    • Located in Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
    • Phone (803) 376-1203.
    • Offers free initial consultations on legal permanent residency for Clemson faculty/staff.
    • Lawrence J. Needle, P.A., is an immigration law firm with national and international expertise. Mr. Needle has more than twenty years of professional experience in immigration law, nationality law and employment law. His firm processes immigration matters at all U.S. immigration service centers as well as district and local immigration sub-offices. Mr. Needle is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and of the South Carolina State Bar Association. Mr. Needle has chaired the Immigration Law subsection of the Employment and Labor Law section of the South Carolina Bar Association, has served as Treasurer of the Carolinas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and speaks and writes extensively on immigration and employment issues.

     Weinstock Immigration Lawyers

    • Located in Atlanta, Georgia.
    • Phone (770) 913-0800.
    • Offers free initial consultations on legal permanent residency for Clemson faculty/staff.
    • Weinstock Immigration Lawyers is a premier immigration law firm, helping immigrants achieve their American dream by securing work visas and green cards to the USA. We offer legal services to companies and individuals to obtain all their immigration needs to the USA, including all work and family visas, green cards, citizenship, and defense from deportation. We are a proactive, diverse team of immigrants with a proven track record of successful results in thousands of cases.

  • Application Process

    Hiring departments and employees are encouraged to contact the attorneys listed above to discuss employment-based LPR sponsorship and the application process. 

    Once a decision is made by the hiring department to sponsor an employee for LPR, the Request for University Support of Application for Employment-Based Permanent Resident Status must be completed and submitted to International Services along with the employee's original job offer letter, copy of the job advertisement, and the updated resume or CV for the sponsored employee. 

    International Services then forwards this complete packet to both the attorney of choice and Clemson's Office of General Counsel (OGC) for review and approval. Once approved, the attorney will begin the PR application requesting signatures, etc. from the employee and International Services during the process. Hiring departments and employees are responsible for the payment of fees as outlined above.

    If hiring departments and employees have questions about the PR process, please contact International Services for additional guidance. 

  • Recommended Deadlines and Processing Times

    The PR process is often lengthy and complex. If a hiring department plans to sponsor an employee for employment-based PR, we recommend beginning the process as soon as possible. If hiring departments and employees have questions about the PR process, please contact International Services for additional guidance.