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Initial H-1B

Overseas and Change of Status applicants will need to apply for an initial H-1B. The OISS only accepts H-1B requests from NU sponsoring departments, so any application should begin with the applicant speaking with his or her department, who will initiate the process with the OISS.

Instructions for incoming H-1B beneficiaries

Steps for Host Department

1. Collect required documents 

In addition to the packet of documents submitted by the applicant (listed above), the host department is responsible for the following items:

  • H-1B Department Request Form
  • Offer letter, including the H-1B's start/end dates, annual salary, and job title
  • H-1B Itinerary Letter (See example)
  • Official University position confirmation, which must cover dates of requested H-1B
    • For faculty: faculty appointment letter;
    • For staff positions: HR offer confirmation letter and HR job description;
    • For research staff: research staff appointment;
    • For postdoctoral fellowships: postdoctoral research appointment.

2. Scan and email the documents to OISS

Placing the H-1B Department Authorization Form at the beginning, complete requests should be emailed as one PDF to EVrequest@northwestern.edu

  • Email subject: "LAST NAME, Start Date" (e.g. WILDCAT, 04/01/2013)
  • File name: "H-1BReq_LAST NAME, First Name" (e.g. H-1BReq_WILDCAT, Willie)

The request will be forwarded to the appropriate advisor, who will be in contact with the department and/or the EV with any questions or missing paperwork.

3.  Checks sent to 1902 Sheridan Road, via inter campus mail.

 $460 and $500 processing fee checks must be paid by the department. If the department would like to use Premium Processing, the department must also pay a $2,500 (through Feb 25, 2024) or $2,805 (starting Feb 26, 2024) fee.  All checks must be separate and all are paid to the Department of Homeland Security. See H-1B check request process for detailed instructions. We will not be able to submit the petition to USCIS without the checks. Please submit the check request to Accounts Payable at the time of submitting the H-1B request, so the submission process is not delayed.


4. OISS and department manage the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) and Labor Condition Application (LCA) requirements

The following steps are required:

  • The OISS obtains the PWD to ensure that the university's wage offer is adequate.
  • The OISS files an LCA with the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • The OISS emails the LCA notice to the host department, which posts it at a conspicuous place for 10 business days. See posting notice instructions. (OISS recommend that you request the processing fee checks from Accounts Payable at this time)
  • Within 7 days of filing, the LCA is approved; the OISS sends the certified LCA to the Department for signatures and return.

5. OISS prepares the H-1B petition for submission to USCIS

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

6. Receive Receipt Notice and Approval by USCIS

  • OISS emails Beneficiary, Department Contact, and Payroll confirming the receipt of the Receipt Notice.
  • OISS emails Beneficiary, Department Contact, and Payroll confirming the decision made by USCIS. Once approved, the I-797 Approval Notice along with an entire copy of the petition can be retrieved from the OISS. 
  • If Beneficiary is outside of Evanston/Chicago area, the OISS will coordinate shipping the Approval Notice and supporting documents to the Beneficiary. The Approval Notice is required for international travel.

Note: Change of Status applicants must retrieve the Approval Notice and supporting documents from the OISS and present the original to University Payroll prior to starting employment in H-1B status.