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Permanent residence obtained through a Texas A&M University System member is an employer-driven process and is always initiated by the hiring department. Per System Regulation 33.99.09, only certain positions may be considered for sponsorship.

Positions eligible for sponsorship include:

  • Tenure/tenure-track faculty
  • Permanent positions (staff positions may be considered for sponsorship under exceptional circumstances when the system member determines it is their best interest for business continuity)

Positions that are not considered for sponsorship are temporary positions such as:

  • Postdoctoral researchers and scholars
  • Lecturers
  • Researchers with fixed-term appointments or appointments ending with funding
  • Exchange visitors

Departments interested in sponsoring an individual for permanent residence must submit an Employment Based Permanent Residence Request Form. Employers can request the most current version of this form by emailing Immigration Affairs at If the documentation satisfies the requirements established by System Regulation 33.99.09, Immigration Affairs will obtain final approvals (by the vice president for Faculty Affairs for Texas A&M faculty) and make a recommendation to the department on which route to pursue permanent residence.

Permanent Residence Categories

In an academic setting, the most commonly used permanent residence categories are:

Special Handling

This option may only be used for tenured or tenure-track faculty or senior lecturers who teach classes leading to a terminal degree. It allows the department to utilize the competitive recruitment used to hire the faculty member as long as a Labor Certification is filed within 18 months of the date of the offer letter. This process should be initiated no later than one year after the date of hire. The system regulation allows the department head to request a waiver of the one-year in position rule and begin the process immediately upon hire.

Outstanding Professor/Researcher

The criterion adopted by the Texas A&M University System establishes two requirements for sponsorship under the Outstanding Professor or Researcher category.

The employee must:

  1. Possess at least three years of post-degree teaching or research experience (except in exceptional cases lesser time than three years may be considered on a case-by-case basis)
  2. Establish by a preponderance of evidence, outstanding international accomplishments that overall sets the foreign national apart in the academic community through eminence and distinction based on international recognition as an Outstanding Professor or Researcher.

Regular Alien Labor Certification

The employer must test the labor market to see that no American worker is ready, willing, qualified or available to fill the position. This is accomplished by launching a bona fide search, recruitment and selection process. Regular labor certifications are typically used for critical staff or research positions.


If an employee wishes to pursue permanent residence on their own by filing a National Interest Waiver or Extraordinary Ability I-140, they may do so. However, the Texas A&M employer may not be represented as the applicant or sponsor on the I-140. The only support the member may provide the foreign national is a letter supporting their effort to acquire permanent residence. Immigration Affairs may not offer any assistance on a foreign national’s self-petition effort.

The I-485

The final step toward permanent residence is the filing of the I-485 petition with USCIS. Because this petition is the employee’s personal petition, Immigration Affairs cannot give advice or assist in the preparation of the I-485. Employees are responsible for all forms, documents and fees associated with their I-485 and those of their dependents.