Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Lawful Permanent Resident

U.S. Immigration practices classify individuals who are not U.S. citizens into two major categories:

  • 1. Nonimmigrant: those who intend to stay in the U.S. temporarily to pursue a specific activity or purpose (e.g., study, travel, business), and
  • 2. Immigrant: those who intend to live in the U.S. permanently.

A person who is admitted as an immigrant or adjusts his/her status to that of an immigrant after arrival is commonly referred to in this document as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). Such individuals may also be referred to as immigrants, permanent residents, resident employees, and green card holders.  LPR status allows an individual to live and work in the U.S. for an employer without the time limitation typical of non-immigrant visas.  An individual can become a permanent resident through a variety of avenues. Two of the most common are:

  • 1. Close family relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident that qualifies in one of the family-based preference categories, or
  • 2. Having education, skills, or talents which are in demand in the U.S. and which qualify in one of the employment-based or profession-related preference categories.

The Institute does not assist with petitions based on family relationship.  The Institute will assist with employment-based permanent resident petitions that require an employer sponsor.  Employment-based petitions that do not require an employer's support are considered self-petitions and may be filed with the help of an outside immigration attorney. Such applications include LPR petitions based on family ties or on the categories of National Interest Waiver or Employee of Extraordinary Ability. These applications are not based on employment with the Institute and individuals are free to pursue them. If individuals require outside assistance with such applications, they must consult an attorney at their own expense. The outside attorney may only represent the petitioner and his/her dependents and may not represent the Institute.

The act of "sponsoring" an employee for LPR refers to lending support to an application through the means of a long-term job offer.  The LPR process is complicated and depending on the qualifications of the foreign national, as well as the specific type of immigration procedures required, the Institute may be involved in the sponsorship process in a number of ways.  Most employment-based permanent residence petitions are contingent upon a full-time, long-term employment relationship.   The employer files an application on behalf of the foreign national employee and is liable with regard to the good faith and veracity of the petition.  For this reason, the Institute should decide to sponsor a foreign national for permanent residence if it is in the best interest of the Institute and the decision is based solely on institutional need for the candidate's unique skills and expertise.


In order for the Institute to consider sponsorship of an employee for Permanent Residency, the following conditions must be present:

  • 1. The employee's position must be permanent in nature and full-time. Permanent, for the purpose of USCIS regulations, indicates a position of indefinite or unlimited duration in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.
  • 2. The individual must already be employed in this permanent position.
  • 3. The employee must have worked at the Institute for a minimum of three years in a full-time capacity. For faculty, the professor must have passed an initial review at the end of his/her second year of employment
  • 4. The employee must have received an annual performance evaluation of 3.0 or above in most recent evaluation.

To Initiate Sponsorship:

Permanent residence status applications for eligible foreign national employees are initiated by a specific program/office of the Institute.  The sponsorship of each foreign national employee must begin with the endorsement of the program chair and the dean or supervisor, if not a faculty position; however, the provost gives the final approval to proceed with sponsorship. The Office of International Services (OIS) will process the application on behalf of the Institute.