Apply for an initial H-1B

Overseas and Change of Status applicants will need to apply for an initial H-1B. The IO only accepts H-1B requests from NU sponsoring departments, so any application should begin with the applicant speaking with his or her  department; once the department has confirmed its sponsorship, the H-1B applicant can apply. The International Office processes the application through Law Logix, an online case management system that is accessible by the IO advisor, department contact, and H-1B beneficiary.

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Instructions for incoming H-1B 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.

If you once hald a J-1 visa:

  • Copies of proof of J-1 status such as J1 visa stamp(s), DS-2019(s)

If you are subject to the 212(e) two-year residency requirement:

  • Copy of waiver recommendation
  • Copy of I-612
  • Proof that you fulfilled the requirements by living and working in your home country for a full two years

If you once held H-1B visa status:

  • Copy of all previous H-1B Approval Notices

If you are changing your status within the U.S. and you have dependendents in the U.S. with you:

2. Complete the online questionnaire in Law Logix

The International Office (IO) will send you necessary login information to Law Logix (ww8.welcomeclient.com) after your sponsoring department has submitted their request to the IO.

3. Receive Receipt Notice and Approval Notice

All initial H-1B applicants (overseas and Change of Status) must receive the Approval Notice from USCIS before employment in H-1B status at Northwestern can begin.

  • Within approximately two to three weeks, the IO Front Desk emails you, your department contact, and Payroll confirming the receipt of the Receipt Notice.
  • Within approximately three to four months, the IO Front Desk emails you, your department contact, and Payroll confirming the decision made by USCIS.  The Approval Notice and support documents will be ready for pick-up at the IO. If you are outside of Evanston/Chicago area, the department contact will pick-up documents and send them to you.

4. Apply for the H-1B visa at a US Consulate or Embassy

If you are an overseas H-1B applicant, please read below for information on how to apply for your H-1B visa.
Make an appointment with a U.S. Consulate/Embassy nearest to your place of residence. Please be aware that it may take a few weeks to get an appointment. Allow additional time: two to three months if a background check is deemed necessary by the consular official.
Bring the following documents to your appointment:
  • Completed Visa Application Form, DS-160 (if applicable)
  • Original I-797 Approval Notice form
  • Copies of the H-1B (I-129) petition
  • Updated letter of employment from your NU department (necessary for renewing H-1B visas)
  • Application fee. Please check the US Consulate/Embassy website for details
  • If dependents are accompanying you, please make sure that you have birth certificates of your children; have an original marriage certificate, photographs of your wedding, invitations, etc. as proof of evidence.

Please check the US Consulate/Embassy website for any additional documents required by an individual consular post.

Note: If while applying for an H-1B visa stamp, your name is sent for a background check, there is very little the university can do to ameliorate the situation. However, if more than 60-days have passed since the date of application, and no information has been given regarding application status, please follow the instructions on the IO website regarding Visa Stamp Delay.

5. Arrival and check-in.

Overseas applicants must check in with the IO upon arrival and then the Payroll Office prior to starting work. Learn more about check-in procedures. Please note that if you are arriving from outside the U.S., you may only enter 10 days before your H-1B start date.

Change of Status applicants must retrieve his or her Approval Notice documents from the IO and present the original to the Payroll Office prior to starting empoyment in H-1B status.

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:

2. You must also complete the Law Logix Intake questionniare.

It is available at ww8.welcomeclient.com.

3. The IO and department handle the Prevailing Wage Determination and Labor Condition Application requirements.

The following steps are required:

  • The IO obtains the Prevailing Wage Determination to ensure that the university's wage offer is adequate.
  • The IO files a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor.
  • The IO emails the LCA notice to the host department, which posts it at a conspicuous place for 10 business days. See posting notice instructions.
  • Within 7 days of filing, the LCA is approved; the IO sends the certified LCA to the Department for signatures and return.

4. The IO prepares materials for the H-1B's visa application

  • IO reviews the paperwork and emails the Department and Beneficiary if any additional documents are necessary.
  • IO files the application with USCIS and provides the Department and Beneficiary with a UPS tracking number.

5. Receive Recipt Notice and decision by USCIS

  • Within approximately two to three weeks, IO Front Desk emails Beneficiary, Department Contact, and Payroll confirming the receipt of the Receipt Notice.
  • Within approximately three to four months, IO Front Desk emails Beneficiary, Department Contact, and Payroll confirming the decision made by USCIS. The Approval Notice and support documents will be ready for pick-up at the IO.
  • If Beneficiary is outside of Evanston/Chicago area, the Department Contact will pick-up documents and send to Beneficiary.

Note: Change of Status applicants must retrieve his or her Approval Notice documents from the IO and present the original to the Payroll Office prior to starting empoyment in H-1B status.