Special Handling Labor Certification

General Overview

Foreign nationals who have been selected through a competitive recruitment and selection process and who occupy certain teaching positions may be eligible to seek permanent residency through PERM Special Handling Labor Certification.  Please schedule an appointment with the Director of UBIS in order to determine if your position qualifies for Special Handling. 

Under this process, there are three steps to permanent residency:

(1)The preparation and submission of a PERM Special Handling Labor Certification Application to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Application must be filed with DOL within 18 months of the issuance of the letter of offer. The hiring department must demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Labor that, after a competitive recruitment and selection process, the foreign national was found to be more qualified than any of the U.S. workers who had applied for the position.

(2)The preparation and submission of an Immigrant Petition to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The hiring department, with the assistance of UBIS, petitions USCIS for permanent residency on behalf of the international employee.

(3)The preparation and submission of an Adjustment of Status Application.  After approval of the Immigrant Petition, the international employee applies to “adjust” or change his/her temporary status to permanent. At the end, the individual receives the so-called “green card.”

PERM Special Handling Labor Certification

As a precondition of filing the PERM Special Handling Labor Certification Application with the U.S. Department of Labor,

(1) the individual must occupy a "permanent," full-time teaching position;

(2) the submission of the Special Handling Labor Certification must take place within 18 months of the date that the individual was selected for the position (calculated from the date of the offer letter).  The Special Handling Request Packet must arrive at UBIS within one year of the issuance of the letter of offer in order to allow sufficient time for preparation of the Labor Certification Application; and

(3) the recruitment for the position must have had at least one advertisement placed in a national professional journal of the particular discipline.  The selected professional journal must be the journal that is most likely to generate the highest number of qualified applicants. The advertisement can appear in a print or online journal; if online, then hardcopy evidence showing the posting was for at least 30 consecutive calendar days must be provided to UBIS. 

As the initial step of this process, UB Immigration Services requires the hiring department to schedule a conference with the Director of Immigration Services (716.645.2355) in order to determine the case’s eligibility under the above-referenced requirements.

When it has been determined that the recruitment and the international employee meet the PERM Special Handling Labor Certification requirements, UB Immigration Services will forward the Special Handling Labor Certification Checklist and other items to the faculty member and their department. UB Immigration Services will formally commence preparation of the Special Handling case once all of the items on the checklist have been provided the Special Handling Request Packet). It will also prepare and submit an online PERM Special Handling Application with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Immigrant Petition

Upon certification (approval) of the PERM Special Handling Labor Certification application, UB Immigration Services will prepare and submit the Immigrant Petition on behalf of the University.  The Petition will solicit an immigrant visa number on behalf of the international employee.  The Immigrant Petition seeks the authorization (from the USCIS) to extend an offer of employment which is of indefinite duration.

It was once the case that if the priority date (date the Labor Certification Application was filed) was "current" according to the Visa Bulletin, UBIS would file the employee's Adjustment of Status Application -- as well as those of dependents -- concurrently with the Petition.  Otherwise, the AOS application(s) was(were) filed once the priority did become current.  Commencing in October 2015, however, USCIS introduced a separate document that may supersede the Visa Bulletin.  This document, entitled the Dates for Filing Application Chart, will be published by USCIS if it determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas. Thus, individuals wishing to file Adjustment of Status Applications must now take into account information provided by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

It is the responsibility of the employee to monitor the Visa Bulletin and the Dates for Filing Application Chart in order to determine when they are eligible to file their Adjustment of Status Application.  Information concerning the Adjustment of Status Application appears below.

Adjustment of Status Application

Individuals for whom an immigrant visa number is immediately available ("current") or, where applicable, meet the conditions of the Dates for Filing Application Chart, are eligible to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. by submitting an Adjustment of Status Application (“AOS”). The AOS Application, once approved, will change ("adjust") the international employee’s temporary nonimmigrant status to permanent status (Lawful Permanent Residence).

As part of the Adjustment of Status Application, applicants will need to undergo a medical examination by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services designated civil surgeon (who can be found at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=offices.type&OfficeLocator.office_type=CIV) , as well as provide his/her biometrics (fingerprints and other identifying information) after the AOS case is submitted to USCIS. USCIS will send the applicant a notice for the biometrics appointment.

Upon approval of the Adjustment of Status Application, the international employee will be conferred permanent residency and receive the so-called “green card.”

 

Filing Fees

The U.S. Department of Labor does not currently charge a filing fee for the submission of the PERM Special Handling Labor Certification Application. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services charges a filing fee of $700 for the submission of the I-140 Immigrant Petition. Filing fees of $1,225 for anyone 14 years or older and $750 for anyone under the age of 14 are also required for each Adjustment of Status application. Checks should be made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Legal Services Fee

To cover the costs associated with the preparation and submission of the PERM Special Handling Labor Certification Application and related stages (Immigrant Petition and Adjustment of Status Application), UB Immigration Services charges a legal service fee of $4,250. Of this fee, $1,500 for the PERM Labor Certification stage must be paid by the employer. There is also a $750 charge for the preparation of each dependent's Adjustment of Status Application.

Disclaimer

The information contained on this web page is provided as a service to the international faculty, researchers, staff, employees and administrators of University at Buffalo, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the University at Buffalo nor the Office of UB Immigration Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained on this web page, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.

Contact

Email: immgsvc@buffalo.edu        Tel. Number: (716) 645-2355