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H-1B Employees

H-1B status is suitable for most international researchers, faculty and staff whose position requires the minimum of a bachelor’s degree and who will perform work in a specialized skill area. The host department will collect information from the prospective H-1B and file documents to the International Office who will then file the petition to USCIS.

Visa summary:

  • Visa-holders are skilled workers with a bachelor's degree or higher who perform work in a specialized skill area.
  • Visas can be held up to six years total, but can only be applied for three years at a time.
  • Dependents of the H-1B beneficiary hold H-4 visas.

Types of H-1B Visa Applications

There are several different types of H-1B visa applications depending on the current status of the prospective employee.  See the Documentation Requirements for H-1B Application Types to view the differences at a glance.

In general, the type of H-1B visa will depend on whether you are a new or current H-B visa-holder.

Applying for an initial H-1B visa

Will you be applying for an initial H-1B? New applicants fall into one of the two following H-1B types:

  • H-1B Overseas are new applicants living outside the United States
  • H-1B COS (Change of Status) currently live in the United States in a different visa category


Application procedures & checklists

Extending or amending an H-1B

If you currently hold an H-1B visa, but something is changing such as your host institution, end date, job details or similar, one of the following types for H-1B visa applications will be prepared:

  • H-1B COE (Change of Employer) holds an H-1B at another institution but are starting employment at Northwestern
  • H-1B EOS (Extension of Status) hold an H-1B at Northwestern and would like to extend end date
  • H-1B Amend hold an H-1B at Northwestern but job title, description, site of activity, salary, and/or hours have changed.
  • H-1B Concurrent hold an H-1B at another institution but will concurrently work at Northwestern.
Amendment procedures & checklists

Maintaining Your Visa

It is important that you maintain your H-1B status by extending/amending your visa if necessary, and by following the visa's compliance requirements. View all visa requirements and restrictions.

Bringing Spouses and Children

Spouses and children under age 21 will fall in the H-4 visa category. This category carries certain restrictions, such as ineligibility to seek employment. Learn about H-4 visas and find application instructions.