Guide for Sponsorship for Legal Permanent Residency
California Institute of Technology
Caltech divisions and departments can sponsor individuals for legal permanent residency (green card) based on the
individual’s professional employment at Caltech. While the decision to offer this kind of sponsorship must always
be in keeping with the larger Caltech employment policies, there are a number of other steps involved.
The decision to sponsor an individual for permanent residency involves work from many people on campus and the
use of significant Caltech resources. Sponsorship should never be undertaken merely as a favor to a friend or
colleague, but rather in response to genuine needs of Caltech
All Caltech-sponsored green cards involve attorney costs and immigration service fees. The sponsoring department
must pay for the expenses that pertain to the sponsored individual. Sponsoring departments may elect to pay for the
expenses associated with the dependents, but they are not required to do so.
JPL’s sponsorship is different from Caltech sponsorship. JPL has its own unique policy for sponsorship that meets
the criteria and regulations of NASA. Consult the International Offices for details (626 395 2188). The
information provided in this document pertains to Caltech sponsorship.
Caltech-sponsored applications for permanent residency include:
A Caltech petition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Caltech puts its name behind the
individual when this petition is filed. In some cases the process may also include a Caltech application to
the Department of Labor. Note that the individual and his or her family are silent in this part of the process.
An application from the individual indicating that he/she wants a green card. The sponsored individual
“speaks” to the DHS only after Caltech’s part(s) of the process are complete.
A commitment to long-term employment of the individual by the division or department. It takes
approximately three to four years to get a green card. If the individual isn’t in the job at the end of that
time, all the effort, time, and money are wasted. Please note that waiting times for people from some
countries (China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines, for example) are likely to be longer.
A commitment to long-term employment at Caltech on the part of the individual. This is backed by a
standard repayment agreement if the individual leaves Caltech employment within a year of getting his or
her green card.
The expectation that the individual will make significant contributions to the mission of Caltech.
ISS assessment that the individual qualifies for the particular category of green card specified.
PLEASE NOTE THAT INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM CALTECH SPONSORS EMPLOYMENT –BASED
PERMANENT RESIDENCY WILL GET GREEN CARDS FOR THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS
IN THE PROCESS.
Caltech Criteria for Sponsorship
Caltech depends on its faculty and administrators to make fair and balanced decisions in this regard. At least one of
the following must be true in order for a Caltech application to go forward:
• Individual possesses specific skills or knowledge necessary for long-term research interest or objectives of
the Institute OR
• Position is a tenure-track or tenured faculty position OR
• Individual possesses specific specialized skills or knowledge for professional positions that are necessary
for on-going functions at Caltech OR
• Individual has significant grant-getting ability
If the application is to succeed, the individual must have the qualifications that the DHS and the DOL specify.
There are a number of “pathways” to permanent residency. These include the following:
• Family-based petitions. These are petitions filed by a relative on behalf of an individual. An example is a
U.S. citizen who files a petition on behalf of his or her non-U.S. citizen spouse. Caltech cannot provide
advice for family-based petitions but will be happy to make a referral to an attorney who specializes in such
• Employment-based petitions. These are petitions filed by an employer on behalf of an employee. This is
the arena in which Caltech operates. PLEASE NOTE THAT INDIVIDUALS FOR WHOM CALTECH
SPONSORS PERMANENT RESIDENCY GET GREEN CARDS FOR THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES
AS WELL. THESE ARE NOT “FAMILY-BASED” PETITIONS, BUT PART OF AN EMPLOYMENT-
• Public policy petitions. These are petitions based on asylum, visa lottery, and other like categories.
Caltech-sponsored applications fall into the “employment-based” petition. There are a number of subdivisions. We
are happy to provide details and discuss strategy.
The sponsoring faculty/administrator agrees to:
Weigh the pros and cons of each case carefully and sign the Sponsorship and Repayment Agreement.
Provide an account to which costs may be charged.
Work with his or her division or department to assure that all internal procedures are followed to make the
position a genuine “long-term” position
Help solicit appropriate letters to support an “Outstanding Professor/Researcher” application if that is the
pathway that is appropriate to the case.
Write a letter to support an “ Outstanding Professor/Researcher” application if that is the pathway that is
appropriate to the case.
Work with ISS and the assigned immigration attorney to conduct an appropriate search if the process
includes an application for labor certification. Note that this is a protracted process with many small steps,
all of which must be coordinated by the immigration attorney.
Continue to employ the individual in the position for which the application was filed.
The sponsoring faculty/administrator specifically agrees NOT to sign DOL applications, DHS petitions,
and forms authorizing representation of Caltech by an immigration attorney. That authority exists solely in
the office of International Scholar Services at Caltech.
The sponsoring division/department agrees to:
Weigh the pros and cons of each case carefully and sign the Sponsorship and Repayment Agreement
Cooperate with the sponsoring faculty/administrator to complete all internal procedures to make the
position a genuine “long-term” position.
Work with ISS and the assigned immigration attorney to conduct an appropriate search if the process
includes an application for labor certification. The division/department understands that these processes
may vary considerably from standard academic search processes. Caltech operates in good faith in these
and in all searches.
Follow the instructions of ISS and the immigration attorney as to the composition of the advertisement if
the application involves labor certification.
Post position announcements in appropriate locales, per instructions by ISS and the immigration attorney.
The sponsoring division/department specifically agrees NOT to sign DOL applications, DHS petitions, and
forms authorizing representation of Caltech by an immigration attorney. That authority exists solely in the
office of International Scholar Services at Caltech.
The sponsored individual agrees to:
Sign the Sponsorship and Repayment Agreement that provides for repayment of attorney fees if the
individual leaves Caltech employment prematurely.
Sign the Form G-28 to allow the Caltech-selected attorney to represent the individual’s interests in the
Cooperate with sponsoring faculty, ISS, and division/department to provide materials in a timely fashion.
Cooperate with ISS and the immigration attorney in all matters, including full disclosure of grounds for
exclusion before the process begins.
Pay all expenses associated with the processing of his or her family’s green cards, unless otherwise
specified by the division or department.
In very general terms, it takes about three to four years to get a green card. As is the case with any complex legal
matter, there are a number of variables that could affect the timeline. Please note that petitions for individuals from
China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines are likely to take longer. This is a function of immigration law.
Caltech uses the services of outside immigration attorneys in the filing of Caltech-sponsored immigrant petitions.
ISS reserves the right to select the attorney that Caltech will engage for any given Caltech petition.
• Attorney fees for sponsored individual
The hiring division or department agrees to pay all attorney fees set out in the client-fee agreement for the petition
associated with the sponsored individual.
• Attorney fees for applications for family members
The sponsored individual agrees to pay all attorney fees for applications that pertain to affected family members,
unless otherwise stipulated in the Sponsorship and Repayment Agreement.
• Sponsored individual
o I-140 immigrant petition
o I-485 application for adjustment of status/consular processing for sponsored individual
o I-765 application for interim work authorization for sponsored individual
o I-131 application for interim travel permission for sponsored individual
• Dependents of Sponsored Individual
o I-485 application for adjustment of status/consular processing for family members
o I-765 application for interim work authorization for family members
o I-131 application for interim travel permission for family members
DHS fees can be found at www.uscis.gov.
DOL-mandated search costs
If the application involves the Department of Labor, the division agrees to pay for the costs of advertisements placed
in journals and local newspapers in the context of an application for labor certification. These costs vary, depending
on the location of the advertisements.
Medical Exam Expenses
Please note that examinations must be conducted by a DHS or Department of State approved physician, rather than
one’s own physician. It is usually the case that these examinations and/or immunizations are not covered by
insurance policies since they are not related to an accident or illness.
In very general terms, an average non-problematical case will have a total cost of about $12K.
Use of outside immigration attorneys in Caltech-sponsored petitions
There is often confusion about whether or not an individual can hire his or her own attorney and proceed with a
permanent residency application without going through all these procedures. That is possible, but the application
would not be a Caltech-sponsored application in that case. There are a couple of niches in immigration law for these
types of applications. We would be happy to provide details. Not all individuals will qualify for these options.
The staff at ISS understands that immigration processes are time-consuming, irksome, and complicated. Part of our
job is to help the Caltech community cope with this bureaucracy. We do not work for the DHS; we work for
Caltech. But we cannot do our jobs unless we have the full cooperation of the administrators, the faculty, and the
sponsored individuals. We look forward to creative collaborative work.
marjory gooding 8/24/2009
S:\ISS\LPR\Guide to LPR Sponsorship.doc