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International Scholars

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services advises and assists Northwestern's international visitors and employees, including faculty members, staff, researchers, exchange visitors and short-term visitors. All university employee visas require input from the employee and his or her host department at Northwestern; we help with the process of acquiring and maintaining both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa statuses.

Compare the processing times and fees for these visas. 

Incoming Visitors and Employees

Types of visitors

Visitors fall into a variety of nonimmigrant visa categories that vary according to reason for visit, home country, or length of visit.

  • Short term B-1/WB visitors: Staying less than 90 days, these visitors may qualify for a B-1 Visitor Visa or a WB Visa Waiver.
  • J-1 visitors: Professors, researchers (including postdocs), short-term scholars, and student interns in the J-1 Exchange Visitor category have a maximum stay of five years.

Types of employees

Employees fall in a variety of nonimmigrant visa categories that vary according to their position at the university and their home country.

  • H-1B employees: H-1B visa status is awarded to professionals hired to work in specialty skill areas, such as tenure-track faculty, staff members, and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Canadian & Mexican nationals: Citizens of Canada and Mexico are hired to work in specialty skill areas as well; they have Treaty NAFTA (TN) status.
  • Australian nationals: Citizens of Australia can perform a "specialty occupation" in the United States using the E-3 visa.

Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (0-1)

O-1 status is suitable for individuals who have attained national or international acclaim for extraordinary achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Extraordinary ability is defined as a high level of expertise and indicates that the person is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of his/her field. 

Learn more about the 0-1 visa

Legal Permanent Residency

Northwestern may sponsor international employees for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) -- or "green card" -- immigrant status. New tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for LPR status at the beginning of their hire; other employees are must wait a minimum of two years for Northwestern sponsorship.

Read more about becoming a Legal Permanent Resident