UAB and affiliates routinely sponsor qualifying researchers, faculty, and clinical faculty for permanent residence. Depending on your CV, whether you have a tenure-track offer, and the department’s needs, you could be sponsored in either the EB-1B or EB-2/3 PERM category. Conversations about sponsorship are initially held between IFSIS and the sponsoring department, and IFSIS will not move forward without email confirmation of departmental support for permanent residence. IFSIS and the department will discuss the timing and category and determine a permanent residence strategy based on institutional need and prioritization.

The extensive information presented here has been developed over years of experience, is tailored to UAB/HSF processes, and will answer the vast majority of common questions. If you still have questions after reviewing this page, please drop in to IFSIS Office Hours on Zoom, held every Tuesday from 3-5 PM. During that time, the Executive Director will answer specific questions about the permanent residence process that are not answered elsewhere on this page. The link to Zoom office hours is listed in the weekly e-newsletter sent to all H-1B employees. Check your UAB/UABMC email. Zoom participants are admitted one at a time, so no one else will be present during your particular discussion.

What is a Form I-140?

USCIS Form I-140 is essentially the employer's part of the permanent residence process. It secures you a place in line to become eligible to file your own separate, personal application for permanent residence via a different USCIS form, Form I-485. I-140s can be approved in different "preference categories." At UAB/HSF, these include the EB-1B (outstanding professor or researcher) and EB-2 (advanced degree professional) categories. An approved Form I-140 is not a green card. An approved I-140 does not, by itself, confer work authorization. An approved I-140 merely sets aside a green card for you at a future date. After your employer receives an approved Form I-140 on your behalf, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residence based on the "priority date" chart in the Department of State's monthly visa bulletin: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html. For employees born anywhere except India or China, the priority date is "current" in all I-140 preference categories, meaning that you can begin assembling materials to file your permanent residence applications immediately. Employees born in India or China who have an I-140 approved in a preference category other than EB-1 (such as EB-2) will not be eligible to file their permanent residence applications for many years based on the current backlog in the Department of State's visa bulletin in this category. However, any employee with an approved I-140 is eligible for continued extensions of their underlying H-1B work authorization beyond six years until a green card is finally received.

IFSIS processes permanent residence sponsorship requests in the order received and prioritizes requests for employees with the fewest years left in H-1B status. IFSIS cannot proceed with permanent residence sponsorship without written (email) support from your supervisor. Generally, IFSIS focuses exclusively on H-1B petitions from February through July and files prevailing wage requests to support EB-2 PERMs after the Department of Labor publishes its new wages every July 1. If you have questions, please review the extensive information below FIRST, then attend IFSIS Office Hours any Tuesday on Zoom between 3-5 PM. The link is provided in the weekly e-newsletter.

Which employment-based route is possible for me?

Non-Clinical Faculty, Scientists, Researcher V, and certain IT professionals

Individuals in these job roles can qualify for either the EB-1B or EB PERM routes depending on experience and achievement. EB-1B status is available to outstanding professors and researchers (and is not available for postdocs, which are still considered to be in a temporary/training role). If you satisfy the evidentiary requirements for EB-1B sponsorship, your employer can bypass the lengthy PERM labor certification process and you can become eligible to file your personal I-485 green card application much sooner. USCIS review of EB-1B petitions is highly subjective, and the petition requires a substantial amount of supporting evidence. Please refer to the document at the green button below for a detailed description of the EB-1B path to permanent residence, including time, cost, and evidence necessary. While a sponsoring employer (UAB) is required for the EB-1B process, success depends on your individual achievements.

Non-Clinical Faculty and Researchers EB-1B Factsheet (PDF) →   

If your CV does not qualify for EB-1B at the time your department wishes to begin the permanent residence process, then IFSIS will work with your department to begin the EB-2 PERM route. Faculty offered positions at the Instructor level or above can qualify for permanent residence sponsorship in the EB-2 PERM category. If the recruitment that resulted in your hire meets Department of Labor criteria for EB-2 sponsorship, UAB can use a process referred to as “Special Handling.” If not, UAB may need to re-recruit for your position to test the US labor market and determine whether there are any more highly-qualified US workers available for the position. Employees who hold a job requiring at least a master’s degree as a minimum can also qualify for an I-140 immigrant worker petition in the EB-2 PERM category. This category requires UAB to file a request for a prevailing wage determination and conduct recruitment before filing the PERM. A flow chart describing the PERM process can be found here. The PERM process can take 12-14 months (Department of Labor processing times fluctuate and cannot be expedited), and all costs must be paid by the department. The employee cannot pay any costs necessary for the PERM process.

PERM flow chart (PDF) →

Clinical faculty

Clinical faculty with a tenure-track appointment at UAB are eligible for either the EB-1B category or the EB-2 PERM category. Please refer to the document below for a detailed description of the EB-1B path to permanent residence, including time, cost, and evidence necessary. You are welcome to hire an attorney to help collect the necessary support letters and other evidence for an EB-1B petition. However, no attorney can submit a USCIS Form G-28 to represent UAB and affiliates, and no attorney can draft USCIS Forms I-140 or I-907 for UAB or affiliate signature. All materials gathered for an EB-1B petition must be submitted to and reviewed by IFSIS, which will prepare the USCIS forms, collect filing fee checks, obtain proper signatures, and ship the petition to USCIS via UPS or FedEx. If you or your attorney have any questions after reviewing the Factsheet below, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or attend Office Hours on Tuesday afternoon from 3-5 PM on Zoom.

Clinical Faculty EB-1B Factsheet (PDF) →

Clinical faculty without a tenure-track offer from UAB, including clinical faculty who are appointed 100% with HSF, are not eligible for the EB-1B category and will be sponsored in the EB-2 PERM category. A flow chart describing the PERM process for physicians can be found here. HSF will be the employer sponsor of your EB-2 PERM.

PERM flow chart Clinical Faculty (PDF) →

Permanent Residence Paths Not Requiring Employer Sponsorship

The EB-1B and EB-2 PERM permanent residence routes require express employer sponsorship and support in form of filing documents with the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security and (in the PERM scenario) paying recruitment advertising fees. However, you may qualify for permanent residence in a number of other paths that do not require involvement by your employer or the Department of Labor. These include the EB-2 physician national interest waiver (EB-2 PNIW), national interest waiver (EB-2 NIW), and EB-1A categories. Please feel free to pursue these routes on your own, or in consultation with a licensed immigration attorney. Only one approved Form I-140 (in any eligibility category) is necessary to extend your underlying H-1B work authorization with UAB/HSF beyond six years, if that is an issue. IFSIS does not and cannot advise on these routes, since they are not employer-sponsored. Information about the criteria for these routes can be found on the USCIS website.

Policy on use of outside attorneys

Institutional procedure requires IFSIS to review all employment-based petitions prior to filing with USCIS. You are welcome to hire an attorney to help collect the necessary support letters; however, no attorney can submit a USCIS Form G-28 to represent UAB or affiliates, and no attorney can draft USCIS Forms I-140 or I-907 for UAB or affiliate signature in the EB-1A, EB-2 NIW, or EB-2 PNIW categories. Again, these categories are individual, not employment-based, and no attorney can represent UAB or affiliates in the preparation of these categories of petitions. Please direct any questions (from you or your attorney) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..