UAB departments frequently sponsor scholars for immigrant worker status by filing a Form I-140. Depending on your resume and the department’s needs, an I-140 can be filed in one of several categories. Please note: university policy and procedure require ISSS to review all employment-based petitions prior to filing with USCIS. Prospective international employees are welcome to hire an attorney to help collect the necessary support letters; however, UAB does not allow attorneys to submit Form G-28 to represent UAB in the immigration petition. All employment-based permanent residence petitions undergo an extensive signature routing process at UAB to ensure that all interested parties support the petition.

ISSS holds drop-in Zoom hours for UAB employees every Tuesday from 3-5 PM for questions specifically about the permanent residence process. Find the link in the weekly Globetrotter e-newsletter sent to all H-1B employees.

EB-1B Outstanding Professors and Researchers

EB-1B status is available to outstanding professors and researchers. If you can satisfy the evidentiary requirements for an EB-1B immigrant worker petition, your department can bypass the time-consuming and expensive PERM labor certification process, and you will be able to apply for permanent residence faster upon approval. USCIS review of an EB-1B petition is highly subjective, and the petition requires a substantial amount of supporting evidence.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Have earned an MD or Ph.D. in your field.
  2. Have gained three years of experience following completion of your doctoral degree.
  3. Hold a tenure-track faculty position with UAB or a "permanent" research position (i.e., Researcher or Scientist career ladder--postdoc does not qualify, as it is still considered a training position).

EB-1B Personal Achievement Criteria:

Non-Clinical Faculty and Researchers (PDF) → Physician-Scientists (PDF) →

EB-2 Faculty

Individuals offered positions at the Instructor level or above can qualify for permanent residence sponsorship in the EB-2 category. If the recruitment content and media resulting in your hire meets Department of Labor criteria for EB-2 sponsorship (colloquially known as “PERM”), we can use a process referred to as “Special Handling.” If not, UAB may need to re-recruit for the position to test the US labor market and prove there are no more highly-qualified US workers available for the position. If you have a clinical faculty appointment and are 100% funded by HSF (the Health Services Foundation) without any percentage of effort coming from or devoted to UAB, the EB-2 PERM process is the only employer-sponsored permanent residence route available to you. Your PERM will be filed by HSF, not UAB.

EB-2 non-Faculty (“advanced degree professionals")

International employees who hold a job requiring at least a master’s degree as a minimum can qualify for an I-140 immigrant worker petition in the EB-2 category. This category requires UAB to file a request for a prevailing wage determination and conduct recruitment before filing a PERM labor certification (“labor cert”). Once the I-140 is approved, individuals must wait for the priority date stated on I-140 approval to become current before they can apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (i.e., apply for a “green card”). The Visa Bulletin is issued monthly and can be monitored here to check the priority date.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The job offered must require a master’s degree
  • Proof (in the form of official academic records) of your degree(s)
  • Proof of experience required by the offered job

Check PERM Process Timeline (PDF) →

Permanent Residence Paths Requiring Outside Attorney (EB-1B and EB-2 NIW)

EB-1A “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” Petition

If you have “extraordinary” ability in the arts or sciences, you can file an application for EB-1A status without having a job offer from a specific employer, and you do not have to undertake the PERM labor certification process.

EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) Petition

In order to be successful with an EB-2 NIW petition, you first must demonstrate that it is in the national interest of the United States that you are granted permission to work permanently here. In addition, you must prove that you meet any three of the criteria below:

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility

Once you have established your eligibility based on the criteria above, you then must also satisfy all three prongs of the test established in Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO Dec. 27, 2016), namely that:

  • Your proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • You are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  • It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.

More general information about the EB-2 NIW process is available on the USCIS website.