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U.S. Permanent Residence
There are a few terms used to describe legal permanent residency in the United States. The terms immigrant, green card holder, legal permanent resident and resident alien all mean that the person has permission from immigration to reside in the US permanently. The official name is Lawful Permanent Resident status. Persons who hold PR status may remain in the U.S. permanently and live and work wherever they wish. Obtaining PR status has no effect on current citizenship and PR holders need to maintain a valid home country passport at all times. In general PRs have the some of the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as U.S. citizens. PRs may buy and sell property, own and operate businesses and may be drafted into the military if a draft is in effect. PRs may not vote in government elections, serve on juries at trials nor hold some elected offices or government jobs. Persons holding PR status for five years (in some instances three) may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
CSMC sponsorship for legal permanent residency
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) divisions and departments can sponsor international employees for legal permanent residency (green card) based on the individual’s professional employment at CSMC. While the decision to offer this kind of sponsorship must always be in line with the larger CSMC employment policies, there are a number of other steps involved. This involves administrative commitment from the department and the use of significant CSMC resources. Sponsorship should never be undertaken merely as a favor to a friend or colleague, but rather in response to genuine business necessity of CSMC.
The Visa & International Services Administration (VISA) office is the only agent authorized to represent CSMC with regard to submitting employment-based petitions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of foreign nationals seeking U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (PR) status. All CSMC-sponsored PR petitions involve attorney costs, administrative and immigration service fees. The sponsoring department must pay for the expenses that pertain to the sponsored individual (approximately $10,000 - $12,000). Sponsoring departments may elect to pay for the expenses associated with the dependents, but they are not required to do so.
There are certain employment-based permanent residency petitions that REQUIRE a job offer letter to be submitted from, or on behalf of CSMC. There are alternative employment-based petitions that do not require a job offer letter or employer sponsorship. With regard to these cases, the foreign national may choose to submit a petition on his/her own and/or with the assistance of an attorney, without any employer sponsor. However, even in these cases that do not require an employer sponsor, it is extremely important that the VISA office is aware of the filing as it may have serious implications on the international’s immigration status.
Note: During the entire PR process and up until the employee is able to adjust status, it is necessary to simultaneously maintain the non-immigrant visa status (e.g. H-1B, O-1, etc.) by requesting extensions of stay. If an employee is uncertain about when their non-immigrant visa expires, they should contact the VISA office.
CSMC sponsors Lawful Permanent Resident (PR) in the following categories: EB-1 Outstanding Professor/Researcher and EB-2 Labor Certification PERM (Members of the Professions with an Advanced Degree.) and EB-3 Skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. There is a backlog in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for certain nationals such as citizens of China and India. The EB-1 Outstanding Professor/Researcher category involves a lot of detailed preparation of documentary evidence proving to immigration that the faculty member has abundant outstanding academic achievements that have generated international recognition.
CSMC employees interested in applying for Permanent Residency in any categories other than EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 mentioned above must either file the applications on their own, or hire an immigration attorney to do so. The VISA office cannot advise on non-employment based PR categories such as family petition, National Interest Waiver or the annual Diversity Lottery. Further details are available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.