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When OISS is Closed

Emergencies (or what you may think is an emergency) may arise outside of OISS office hours. Normal OISS staff hours are 8:30 - 4:30 PM excluding holidays when the University is closed. During normal office hours, please contact OISS directly. Please follow the guidelines below when OISS is not open.

Immigration Related Emergencies


  • Trouble at the U.S. Port of Entry or stopped by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer
  • Immediate danger of deportation from the U.S.
  • Arrest

What to do:

  • Call the Northwestern University Police Department (NUPD) at 1-847-491-3456.
  • Inform NUPD you are an international student or scholar and that you have an immigration related emergency. Briefly provide specifics to NUPD.
  • NUPD will contact the OISS Director or appropriate advisor to follow up with you. 
  • If possible, also send an email to with details of your immigration related emergency.

Non-Immigration Related Emergency


  • Hospitalization
  • Personal injury
  • Automobile accident
  • Victim of a crime such as robbery or assault
  • Missing persons

What to do:

  • On-campus if NOT life-threatening: Call NUPD at 1-847-491-3456  and explain the situation
  • On-campus if life-threatening: Call 911 and explain the situation
  • Off campus: Call 911 and explain the situation
  • Once you are able, send email to OISS will provide assistance when the office reopens.

NON-Emergency, Immigration Related

If you are traveling without a valid travel signature:

  • Complete the Travel Signature request in the OISS Portal and you will be able to access and print the document from the OISS portal. Normal processing time is within 5 business days.
  • If you will be re-entering the U.S. in less than 5 business days, also send an email to to explain your situation and urgency for an updated I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you are traveling outside the United States:

  • Contact your local embassy to apply for a replacement passport.
  • Note: some embassies require a police report in the case of a stolen passport.
  • If you will be returning to Northwestern University, you will need to re-apply for a new visa stamp in the new passport. See Apply for a Visa Stamp for further instruction.
  • You will not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again. Go to the I-901 fee website and click on Check I-901 Status to print a copy of your I-901 payment confirmation receipt.
  • You will not need to request a new I-20 or DS-2019 UNLESS something has changed from your most recent immigration document (change of program, name change, travel signature expired, etc.).

All other inquiries (on-campus employment, off-campus work authorization, etc.)

  • Email your OISS advisor and they will respond after the office reopens within normal response time (5 business days or less).