Visas for Visitors & Employees

The International Office advises and assists Northwestern's international visitors and employees, including faculty members, staff, researchers, exchange visitors and short-term visitors. All university employee visas require input from the employee and his or her host department at Northwestern; we help with the process of acquiring and maintaining both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa statuses.

Compare the processing times and fees for these visas.

Types of visitors

Visitors fall into a variety of nonimmigrant visa categories that vary according to reason for visit, home country, or length of visit.

  • Short-term visitors: Staying less than 90 days, these visitors may qualify for a B-1 Visitor Visa or a WB Visa Waiver.
  • J-1 visitors: Professors, researchers, short-term scholars, and student interns in the J-1 Exchange Visitor category have a maximum stay of five years.

Types of employees

Employees fall in a variety of nonimmigrant visa categories that vary according to their position at the university and their home country.

  • H-1B employees: H-1B visa status is awarded to professionals hired to work in specialty skill areas, such as tenure-track faculty, staff members, and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Canadian & Mexican nationals: Citizens of Canada and Mexico are hired to work in specialty skill areas as well; they have Treaty NAFTA (TN) status.
  • Australian nationals: Citizens of Australia can perform a "specialty occupation" in the United States using the E-3 visa.

Legal Permanent Residency

Northwestern may sponsor international employees for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) -- or "green card" -- immigrant status. New tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for LPR status at the beginning of their hire; other employees are must wait a minimum of two years for Northwestern sponsorship.

  • Permanent residence: The LPR application process includes steps for both employees and their sponsoring departments.