I would like to find out about "industry standards" for when, and on what timeline, US universities will sponsor applications for permanent residency (aka green card) for new tenure-track faculty.

I'm asking from the employer's point of view. It seems that my institution's policy is that we will sponsor an application for a new tenure-track hire after they have been in the job for one year. However, we just recently had a candidate turn down an offer we made, saying that although they were very attracted to our position, they had another offer from an institution that was willing to sponsor them immediately, and that this was a very important consideration for them.

Of course there may have been other factors not mentioned, but all the same it is a very disappointing way to lose a candidate. As such, I would like to find out what norms may exist across US academia, to get a sense whether we are competitive with respect to what most other institutions do. If there is wide variation and no real standard, that would be useful to know as well.

Related to this, since I'm not as knowledgeable about immigration issues as I might wish: I am assuming that the main reason for having such a policy is just that the university wants to make sure the new faculty member is likely to stay on, before investing the money for application and legal fees (which I'm aware can be substantial). But I am wondering if there are any other relevant factors in deciding when to sponsor an application, other than pure financial risk, that I don't know about.

For context, this is at a public R3 university, and the hire is in a STEM field (though I think our policy applies for all new hires in every field).

Somewhat related but not answering this specific question: How long does it take to get a green card as a US faculty?

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    Hm. I've not paid attention recently, but 10+ years ago my R1 math dept in the U.S. would always help green-card applications, and, I think, pay most of the costs... Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 20:52
  • @paulgarrett: Do you recall whether they would start the process immediately when the person started working, or whether they would wait as we do? Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 21:04
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    I think even in the preceding spring... once it was "sure" that the person was really coming, and not accepting a different position elsewhere. My dim recollection is that everything was sooo slow that starting in March or so in the previous spring just barely made things work well. Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


Here's one data point. As far as I know, at my university (a top 50 small liberal arts college), we sponsor after one year in the job. I do know of a case, however, where the sponsorship happened later, in the last year of the person's visa instead. But that was a long time ago, and I think now we sponsor the green card faster. I do not think we have ever sponsored before a person even started, but maybe we should consider that.

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