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Initial O-1

The OISS only accepts O-1 requests from Northwestern sponsoring departments. The host department will collect information from the prospective O-1 and provide all of the documents to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) in one file. The OISS advisor will then review the documents and will work with an immigration attorney, the department, and the prospective O-1 beneficiary to file the petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

View Instructions for incoming O-1 beneficiaries

Instructions for Host Departments

1. Collect required documents and submit them to the OISS.

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

  • O-1 Department Authorization Form
  • Offer Letter, including the O-1’s start/end dates, annual salary, and job title
  • Official University position confirmation, which must cover dates of requested O-1
    • For faculty: faculty appointment letter;
    • For research staff: research staff appointment

Please note: Sponsoring department is responsible for USCIS fees. The attorney costs (varies by attorney and case) can be divided based on a pre-arranged agreement between the department and the O-1 beneficiary.

Questions? Contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

2. The OISS reviews materials for the O-1’s visa application.

  • OISS reviews the paperwork and emails the department and beneficiary if any additional documents are necessary.

3. Preparation and filing of the O-1 petition.

  • Upon OISS approval, the beneficiary will select from a list of immigration attorneys to work with for the remainder of the case.
  • The immigration attorney, the department, the beneficiary, and the OISS work together to gather the evidence of extraordinary achievements and to file the petition.

4. Notice of Receipt and Approval Notice from USCIS.

  • Within approximately two to three weeks, the attorney will notify beneficiary, the OISS and the department confirming a receipt notice of the filing.
  • Expect a decision within three to four months of the filing, unless the petition was filed using premium processing. The attorney will notify the beneficiary, department and the OISS of the decision, and if it is approved, will forward the notice.