Step 1: Review Process Timeline and Eligibility Requirements

Review the international scholar’s eligibility for a sponsorship on our Permanent Residence page. If an H Visa Request was submitted for the position, the International Scholars Operation (ISO) team will reach out to initiate the permanent residence process; however, ISO encourages sponsors to contact us at any stage to inform us that a position or employee will require permanent residence sponsorship. Please see our LPR Process Handout for more specific information about processing timelines.

Step 2: ISO Performs Initial Review

ISO will review all documentation and contact the unit for any further information regarding the position duties and requirements. As part of this review, ISO may ask for more information or additional documentation if supporting documents are missing or inconsistent.

Step 3: Prevailing Wage Request and Determination (approximately 3 to 5 months)

ISO will submit a prevailing wage request to the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL will compare the duties and requirements of the position as described in the advertisement with DOL wage data and issue a Prevailing Wage Determination. In some situations, ISO may be able to use the Prevailing Wage Determination obtained for the H-1B for this process as well.

Step 4: Posting the Notice of Filing

Once the prevailing wage request is in process, ISO will contact the unit about posting the Notice of Filing. The unit must prepare and post the notice at all anticipated worksites for 10 business days, complete the posting information on the notice, and then send it to ISO.

Step 5: Preparation to File with DOL

ISO will prepare a draft of the ETA-9089 Application for Permanent Labor Certification. As part of this process, ISO may request revisions to previously-provided documents or new documents to address eligibility requirements. Necessary documents for this filing include the Competitive Recruitment Report, completed Notice of Filing, and other documentation that the scholar met all requirements at the time of selection.

Note: This application must be filed:

  • No more than 18 months after the “date of selection” (generally the date of the first offer letter)
  • While the Prevailing Wage Determination is valid
  • No less than 30 and no more than 180 days after the Notice of Filing was posted
  • Before the end of the scholar’s fifth year of H-1B time

ISO will manage these timelines as much as possible.

Step 6: DOL Adjudication (3 to 12 months)

ISO will submit the ETA-9089 to DOL for processing. ISO will send an email to the unit confirming submission and describing the 5-year retention period for records related to the recruitment. DOL will adjudicate the application; if DOL issues a request for more information, an audit, or a denial, ISO will work with the unit to prepare a response.

Step 7: DOL Certification and Preparation to File the I-140 Immigrant Petition with USCIS

Upon approval, DOL will mail or e-mail the certified ETA-9089 to ISO. Based on the certified ETA-9089, ISO will prepare a complete I-140 Immigrant Petition to file with USCIS, and send it to the unit and the scholar with other documents for review. As part of this process, ISO may request additional information or updated documents to address eligibility requirements.

Step 8: USCIS Adjudication of I-140 (15 days to 12 months)

ISO will send the I-140 petition to USCIS for processing. ISO will send a copy of the finalized petition to you and the scholar. USCIS will issue a receipt notice within a week with a tracking number; ISO will send this to you as well.

Note: If the scholar is not subject to a per-country backlog, they may be eligible to file their I-485 Application to Adjust at this point. See Step 10 below and contact ISO for more information.

Under regular USCIS processing, adjudication of the petition may take up to 12 months. This process can be expedited by paying the USCIS Premium Processing Fee, which guarantees action (meaning approval, request for evidence, or denial) on the petition within 15 days. If USCIS issues a request for evidence, ISO will work with the unit to prepare a response.

Step 9: USCIS Approval

Upon approval, USCIS will mail an approval notice to ISO. ISO will forward a scan of this notice on to the unit and the scholar.

Step 10: Filing the I-485 Application to Adjust Status with USCIS

Upon approval of the immigrant petition, the scholar (and any spouse and children applying for permanent residence) must file an I-485 Application to Adjust Status with USCIS. A list of suggested contents for this application is available upon request; however, ISO cannot assist with preparation and filing of this application. Scholars who desire legal assistance with this application should consult with a private immigration attorney.

Step 11 USCIS Adjudication of I-485 (6 to 18 months)

USCIS will issue receipt notice(s) for the application(s) and issue biometrics and interview appointment notices to the scholar. The scholar must attend these appointments as scheduled or else work with the USCIS office to reschedule them. USCIS will then approve the applications and mail approval notice(s). Soon thereafter, the new permanent residents receive their I-551 Permanent Resident cards.

Discussing Permanent Residence Sponsorship at Time of Hire

When extending an offer in a position eligible for permanent residence sponsorship, the hiring department should agree only that the University will sponsor the employee for permanent residence consistent with UW policy. It is impossible for any employer to guarantee that its efforts to secure permanent residence for an employee will be successful. Applying for permanent residence is a detailed and time-consuming process and takes one to several years to complete, depending on the circumstances of the case. For a better understanding of how much participation is required in this process and what steps are involved, review our LPR Process Handout.


See the Fees page for applicable information.

For More Information

Contact ISO for assistance with the permanent residence process.