Steps for Incoming Visitors & Departments

The process of requesting B-1 or WB status begins with the host department. After the department's request has been approved, the visitor will need to complete a series of steps.

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Instructions for host departments

1. Collect required documents

  • Complete the Department B1/WB Request
  • Write a Letter of Invitation using the template
  • Obtain an approved Visiting Scholar Health Insurance Application (VSHI) OR obtain a waiver of the Visiting Scholar Health Insurance, both through the Office of Risk Management.
  • Obtain a copy of the visitor’s passport bio page

2. Scan and email the documents to the International Office

Complete requests should be emailed as one PDF to

  • Email subject: "B Request: LAST NAME, Start Date" (e.g. B Request: WILDCAT, 04/01/2013)
  • File name: "BReq_LAST NAME, First Name" (e.g. BReq_WILDCAT, Willie)

3. An OISS Advisor reviews the request and notifies the department

  • If the request has been approved, or
  • if the request has been denied. The advisor will provide other visa options.

4. If approved, the department sends letter of invitation to the visitor

Instructions for incoming short-term visitors

1. Apply for B-1 or WB visa status

B-1 status:

  • Schedule a visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country to apply for a B-1 visa stamp.
  • Check with the US Embassy or Consulate to verify which documents to present at the appointment. Common required documents:
    • OISS approved letter of invitation from Northwestern University department.
    • Proof that the visitor has adequate finances to support himself/herself for the duration of stay in the U.S.

WB status in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

2. Enter the U.S.

Bring the letter of invitation from the Northwestern Host Department, proof of finances, and other relevant documentation with you upon arrival into the US.