Employee Arrival & Check-In

Use this webpage to get to know information and find resources about being an H1-B employee at Northwestern.

Entry and arrival

H-1B beneficiaries are eligible to enter the country up to 10 days before the start date listed on the H-1B Approval Notice.

Immigration check-in

Employees in H-1B or E-3 visa status must "check-in" at the Evanston International Office or our Chicago Office before starting employment.

Please bring the following with you for check-in: 

Social Security

You must apply for a Social Security number, and you are eligible to apply 10 days after your arrival in the United States.

For application details, visit our webpage on Social Security.

Other steps after arrival

Get to know the International Office

Take advantage of our advice and guidance. Determine who your IO Advisor is.

Get to know your academic department

Make an effort to get to know your department's administrative contacts, your supervisor, and other colleagues.

Visit or contact important offices on campus

  • Human Resources (HR) and HR's Payroll and Benefits departments to submit necessary paperwork and be entered into the Human Resources database. (This must be completed before you can obtain a WildCARD or set up an email account.)
  • WildCARD Office to obtain a WildCARD, Northwestern's ID card. You will need this card to check out library books, use the free shuttle, purchase on-campus food, receive discounts at local shops and restaurants, and do banking (if linked to an USBank account).
  • Northwestern Information Technology (NUIT) Support Center to set up your email account. Email is free, and it is the University's official form of communication.

Open a bank account

Once you have a Social Security number, you have a variety of bank options, including US Bank which has a branch and multiple ATMs located on campus.

Apply for a driver's license and/or familiarize yourself with other transportation options

Once you have a Social Security number, you can apply for a driver's license. If you do not have a social security number, you can apply for a temporary driver's license. For application details, visit our Driver's License webpage. Information about campus parking is available on the University Police website.

If you do not drive a car, you have many other transit options, including:

Read local newspapers and websites

Learn about Northwestern, Evanston, and Chicago and enjoy yourself.

Find housing

View our Housing Near and On Campus webpage for suggestions and links to housing websites.