Immigrant Visas; Permanent Residence

MIT sponsors employment-based permanent residence (green cards) for tenure-track faculty and certain indefinite research positions only. ISchO acts as MIT's sole agent in these matters. Outside attorneys and agents are not permitted to file permanent resident petitions based on MIT employment. MIT does not pursue permanent residence for individuals whose particular immigration status, visa history, or situation would preclude it.

In order to be sponsored, faculty members must meet the criteria for the first preference classification, “Outstanding Professor/Researcher;” or for the second preference classification under the “college or university professor” provisions. Researchers must meet the criteria for a first preference classification, “Outstanding Professor/Researcher” or “Extraordinary Ability.” MIT will not file labor certification for research positions.

There are immigrant categories for which an individual may self-petition without the sponsorship of an employer. MIT and its departments, laboratories, and centers may not be listed as petitioners on such applications.

Decisions regarding MIT support of an immigrant visa application are made in ISchO after consulting with the department, laboratory or center head. Typically, tenure-track faculty members are eligible for sponsorship assuming DOL and/or USCIS criteria can be met. A number of factors are considered when deciding whether MIT will support an immigrant application for research positions. These include: the permanence of the position and the likelihood of long-term employment at MIT, the level and certainty of funding for the position, the level of the position itself (Research Scientist or above may qualify), how long the scholar has been employed at MIT (at least three years for consideration), the search that was conducted to fill the position, the qualifications of the scholar, and the department head's support for the case.

Processing Time

Immigrant visa applications are time consuming. It may take one or more years to complete the procedure due to processing backlogs at the various government agencies: the Department of Labor, if applicable, USCIS, and, in some cases, the American consulates abroad. During this time, ISchO and DLCs must ensure the scholar maintains valid nonimmigrant status to work.

Related Human Resources Policies

MIT Employment Policy Manual, Section 1.1, Equal Employment Opportunity Policy states that MIT is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. For more information, see MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 9.3, Nondiscrimination.

Page updated August 2023