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H-1B Visa Compliance & Requirements

Maintaining visa status

Address Updates

If you change your residential address, please update this information with USCIS using form AR-11. Information can be found on USCIS website.

For Incoming H-1B Applicants Outside the U.S.

  • Beneficiaries may enter the U.S. up to 10 days before the start date on his/her H-1B Approval Notice.
  • H-1B visa holders coming to NU from outside the U.S. need to check-in with the appropriate OISS Advisor within 5 days of arrival to Northwestern.
  • To check-in with OISS: Please send an email to your OISS Advisor with the following items attached: I-94 Record and jpeg image or PDF of H-1B entry stamp in your passport. 

For H-1B Visa-Holders Seeking Extension

It is important to maintain your H-1B status by applying for an H-1B extension in a timely manner. Please communicate with your current supervisor/department about your H-1B extension and keep the following points in mind to during the extension process:

If you have dependents in the U.S. please remember to file Form I-539 form to extend their H-4 status.

If you are approaching your 5th year in H-1B status, and you intend to apply for Permanent Resident status in the U.S., please begin the process through NU (if eligible) or independently, prior to the start of your 5th year. This will allow extension of H-1B status beyond six years (while pending) for one year at a time.

Travel While in H-1B Status

For beneficiaries currently in the US, please consult your OISS advisor regarding all plans to travel outside the US before the anticipated approval of your petition. Leaving the US while a change of status, extension, amendment, or change of employer petition is pending approval by USCIS may be considered abandonment of the petition or  result in additional visa processing delays and employment disruption. We can coordinate the submission of your petition to accommodate your travel plans with advanced notice.

Please inform your sponsoring department and the OISS if you are traveling outside the U.S. during the process. Review the H-1B travel restrictions.

Off-Campus Occasional Lectures

H-1B beneficiaries are eligible to be issued reimbursement for transportation and reasonable incidental expenses incurred while traveling to off-campus lectures but s/he is not approved to be paid a wage, salary or honorarium for these services. Please contact an OISS advisor for more information and for an approval letter.


A Departure Notice is required for the following situations:

  • Completed employment on the approval notice end date
  • Resigned early
  • Dismissed/terminated
  • Obtained a different visa status

Upon completion of Northwestern employment or H-1B status, please submit the H-1B Departure Notice to our office.