Green Card Sponsorship and Request Process

Sponsorship Policy

The University of Michigan will sponsor green card petitions in the first three employment-based preference categories (EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3). To initiate a green card petition, a department must submit the request form to FSIS. FSIS will either file such applications in-house or assign them to retained counsel.  Pursuant to SPG 201.18, the university will not pay for, or reimburse, the costs and fees associated with a green card petition that was not filed by FSIS or assigned to retained counsel by FSIS.

The University of Michigan does not limit green card sponsorship to certain employment classifications (e.g. staff, research faculty) as long as the foreign national can meet the governmental eligibility requirements. However, individual departments, schools, colleges or other units may limit who they will sponsor or what categories of applications they will sponsor. Foreign nationals are not entitled to green card sponsorship. The University also cannot and will not guarantee the outcome of any immigration petition. 

The two constant regulatory requirements are that positions for which a green card is sponsored must be full-time and “permanent.” While tenure-track positions are considered permanent, to qualify for sponsorship, the position does not need to be on the tenure-track. Positions that do not have a specified end date or maximum duration may qualify but many (e.g. Postdoctoral Research Fellows) do not. Positions that are renewed annually may still qualify as long as the intent is that the position will indeed be renewed.

If a unit decides it wants to sponsor a foreign national for a green card, the department is responsible for the associated fees and costs. The total cost of an application depends on the type of application and on whether the petition is filed by the International Center or Retained Counsel. With limited exceptions, all employment-based green card applicants must now attend an in-person interview at USCIS as part of the Adjustment of Status application process, i.e. the final step of the green card application process. Given the additional scrutiny experienced by citizens from travel banned countries, the UM Office of General Counsel (OGC) recommends that citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Venezuela attend the interview with retained counsel.  This fee can be paid by either the hiring department or the individual.

  • The International Center on the Ann Arbor campus has sole discretion in deciding whether or not a petition is prepared by Retained Counsel.
  • All requests for a green card application must be reviewed by the International Center on the Ann Arbor campus.
  • Only the International Center and retained immigration counsel, as assigned by the International Center, may file immigration petitions on behalf of the University.


Request Process

The green card request process depends on the type of application that is being considered:

  • Tenured/tenure track positions as well as similarly permanent research positions may qualify for an application under the EB-1b (Outstanding Professor/Researcher) category if the employee meets particular requirements and is recognized internationally as outstanding. Please consult with FSIS to determine if EB-1b sponsorship is an option. These types of applications are normally assigned to Retained Counsel.
  • Positions that include didactic teaching duties, e.g. instructional faculty, will generally qualify for an abbreviated application process ("Special Handling"). Research faculty, librarians and certain staff positions may also qualify for this process, depending on the nature of their (non-didactic) teaching duties. Please contact FSIS to discuss the nature of an employee's teaching duties to determine if Special Handling is an option.  Special Handling applications are exclusively filed by FSIS.
  • Green card applications for positions that do not qualify for Special Handling  are normally filed under the basic PERM (Labor Certification) process, unless they qualify for EB-1b sponsorship (and the department agrees to such sponsorship). FSIS will generally handle PERM applications for Research Faculty, though units may request an application for Research Faculty is assigned to Retained Counsel.  PERM applications for staff posiitons are normally assigned to Retained Counsel.

Individuals who are interested in pursuing an employment-based application that requires employer sponsorship should contact their departments to determine whether the department is willing to sponsor such an application.

Once a decision has been made to sponsor someone for a green card application (and in which sponsorship category), the hiring department should submit the appropriate request/authorization form to the International Center.


Self-sponsored Green Card Applications

Foreign nationals interested in pursuing a green card application that does not require the formal sponsorship of the University (e.g. EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) or EB-1a Extraordinary Ability)  may select the immigration attorney of their choice. However, all costs associated with the work performed by such outside counsel are the responsibility of the applicant, i.e. the foreign national.  With limited exceptions, UM will not pursue green card applications that do not require sponsorship.