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Steps to Filing the I-140

Steps to Filing the I-140

Step 1 - The department prepares and signs the form, Preliminary Information to Determine Eligibility for Permanent Residency.  This form directs ISSS to work on the case.

The Preliminary Information to Determine Eligibility for Permanent Residence form is completed by the department and signed by the Department Chair.  Next, it is forwarded to ISSS and Academic Affairs for approval. 

Step 2 - ISSS will schedule a consultation with the employee and department

During this meeting, ISSS determines the employee's eligibility for sponsorship, reviews the extensive evidence required for Step 3, discusses timelines, and recommends next steps.  

Step 3 - The employee compiles evidence to be filed with I-140:

(1) Evidence of employment in the academic field for at least three years following PhD

Consists of letter(s) from each employer(s) from the past three years.  The Letters will include:

  • employee's title, dates of employment, salary, and specific job description.
  • Attach copies of UMD job offer letter(s) and any contracts/renewals

(2) Letter of recommendation from Department Chair, including:

  • Employee's title, salary, and job description
  • Statement that the position is tenured, tenure-track or permanent
  • Explanation of why the employee is important: very specifically and thoroughly describe what the employee does, his/her credentials, how his/her work fits into the current goals of the department, and why it is critical to its mission

(3) Detailed, current Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Should be updated with all publications, peer reviews, conference presentations, etc.

(4) Academic degrees and diplomas from all university-level programs

If in a foreign language, translations into English must be provided.

(5) Strong evidence that the professor or researcher is outstanding and internationally recognized in the academic field

The University will not file a petition unless we can show evidence of an employee's strength in at least three of the following six areas:

  1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field
  2. Elected for membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements of their members
  3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the person's work in the academic field
  4. Participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field
  5. Letters of recommendation from experts in the field discussing the person's original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field
  6. Authorship of scholarly books or articles, in scholarly journals with international circulation, in the academic field.

Note:  Any foreign document used for evidence must be accompanied by a full literal English translation, which the translator has certified as complete and correct, and by a certification that the translator is competent to translate the foreign language into English.

Step 4 - ISSS and the Department complete the I-40 form and collect fee(s)

(1) ISSS will complete sections of the form I-140 and forward it to the department and employee for completion.

(2) Department completes the following Parts:

Part 3 - Information about the employee

Part 4 - Processing information

Part 6 - Basic information about the proposed employment. Note: ISSS will fill in, #2. The SOC Code.

Part 7, if applicable - Information on employee's spouse and all childrenfor whom filing

DO NOT COMPLETE Parts 1, 2, 5, 8 or 9.

Forward I-140 to ISSS.

(3) ISSS completes remaining parts, fills in all codes, signs, and forwards a copy of the I-140 back to the department.

(4) Department uses the signed I-140 to request Working Fund check(s) for petition filing fee(s)

  • Filing fee is currently $700 (Departments are required to pay this fee)
  • Make payable to the Department of Homeland Security
  • Forward check(s) to ISSS.

Step 5 - ISSS prepares final petition and forwards to USCIS

Meanwhile, the employee submits the evidence to ISSS for review. Additional consultations will be scheduled as necessary to ensure supporting documents are sufficient.

ISSS compiles the completed I-140, fees, and evidence and prepares a cover letter which introduces and argues the case.

Petitions are sent to USCIS in Texas, which has jurisdiction over the Immigrant Petitions filed by the University of Maryland.

This concludes the first phase in the process for obtaining employment based immigrant status.


Processing times vary considerably and are difficult to predict. Please consult USCIS's processing times website, select "TSC - Texas Service Center" and click on the respective "Processing Dates" to get an idea of the current waiting period for the application type you have submitted.

Note: The timeline is lengthened if there are Requests for Further Evidence (RFE's). ISSS will contact the employee and department if further information is requested by USCIS.

Continue to More Information about Filing the I-485