Extend or Amend an O-1

Current O-1 visa holders need to apply for O-1 extensions in advance of their expiration. The IO only accepts O-1 requests from Northwestern sponsoring departments. The host department will collect information from the prospective O-1 and provide all of the documents to the International Office (IO) in one file. The IO advisor will then review the documents and will work with an immigration attorney, the department, and the prospective O-1 beneficiary to file the petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The type of extension filed may vary slightly but the basic procedures are the same:  

  • O-1 COE (Change of Employer) holds an O-1 at another institution but will be hired by Northwestern.
  • O-1 EOS (Extension) hold an O-1 at Northwestern but will extend employment end-date
  • O-1 Amend holds an O-1 at Northwestern but need to change details such as site of activity, job title, job description, salary, or hours worked.

Instructions for incoming O-1 beneficiaries

1. Submit required documentation to your host department.

Your host department must submit your forms and documents (listed below) along with its own documents as a complete package to the IO:

  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copy of O-1 visa stamp
  • Copy of I-94 record
  • Copies of all previous O-1 Approval Notices
  • Three most recent pay stubs from Northwestern (wait for your IO advisor or the attorney to request these via email)
  • If you once held a J-1 visa, copies of proof of J-1 status such as J1 visa stamp(s), DS-2019(s)
  • If you were subject to the 212(e) two-year residency requirement, copy of waiver recommendation and copy of I-612

Addressing dependents

The O-1 beneficiary will have to file the I-539 form to extend his/her dependents' status. This I-539, including the following documents, should be included in this O-1 extension filing. Please review our guidelines and tips for filing the I-539.

  • Completed form I-539
  • Copy of dependent(s) visa stamp page
  • Copy of dependent(s) passport biographical page
  • Copy of dependent(s) previous H-4 approval notice(s)
  • Printout of dependent(s) I-94
  • $370 check made payable to The Department of Homeland Security (payable by your or your department)
  • Copy of marriage certificate for spouse and/or birth certificate(s) for children. Include both original and English translation.

Questions? Contact the International Office or departmental contact.

2. The IO reviews materials for the O-1’s visa application

  • IO reviews the paperwork and emails you and the department if any additional documents are necessary.

3. Preparation and filing of the O-1 petition

  • Upon IO approval, you will select from a list of immigration attorneys to work with for the remainder of the case.
  • The immigration attorney will work with you, the department, and the IO work together to gather the evidence of extraordinary achievements and to file the petition.

4. Notice of Receipt and Approval Notice from USCIS

All O-1 beneficiaries must receive the Receipt Notice from USCIS before employment in O-1 status at Northwestern can continue. If the intended employment start-date approaches and you do not have a Receipt Notice, the NU hiring department will have to delay employment.

While the Receipt Notice is required for work to continue/begin at Northwestern for Extension/Amend cases, the Approval Notice is required for all international travel. Please communicate with your IO advisor about any upcoming international travel plans.

  • Within approximately two to three weeks, the attorney will notify beneficiary, the IO and the department confirming a receipt notice of the filing.
  • Expect a decision within three to four months of the filing, unless the petition was filed using premium processing. The attorney will notify the beneficiary, department and the IO of the decision, and if it is approved, will forward the notice.

Instructions for host departments

1. Collect required documents and submit them to the IO

In addition to the packet of documents submitted by the applicant (listed above), the host department is responsible for the following items:

  • O-1 Department Authorization Form
  • Offer Letter, including the O-1’s start/end dates, annual salary, and job title
  • Official University position confirmation, which must cover dates of requested O-1
    • For faculty: faculty appointment letter;
    • For research staff: research staff appointment

Please note: Sponsoring department is responsible for USCIS fees. The attorney costs (varies by attorney and case) can be divided based on a pre-arranged agreement between the department and the O-1 beneficiary.

Questions? Contact the International Office.

2. The IO reviews materials for the O-1’s visa application

  • IO reviews the paperwork and emails the department and beneficiary if any additional documents are necessary.

3. Preparation and filing of the O-1 petition

  • Upon IO approval, the beneficiary will select from a list of immigration attorneys to work with for the remainder of the case.
  • The immigration attorney, the department, the beneficiary, and the IO work together to gather the evidence of extraordinary achievements and to file the petition.

4. Notice of Receipt and Approval Notice from USCIS

  • Within approximately two to three weeks, the attorney will notify beneficiary, the IO and the department confirming a receipt notice of the filing.
  • Expect a decision within three to four months of the filing, unless the petition was filed using premium processing. The attorney will notify the beneficiary, department and the IO of the decision, and if it is approved, will forward the notice.