Skip to main content

Apply for a Change of Status for 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 host departments.

Instructions for Incoming O-1 Beneficiaries

1. Submit required documentation to your host department.

Your host department must submit your forms and documents (listed below) along with its own documents as a complete package to the OISS:

  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV)

If you once held a J-1 visa:

  • Copies of proof of J-1 status such as J1 visa stamp(s), DS-2019(s)

If you are subject to the 212(e) two-year residency requirement:

  • Copy of waiver recommendation
  • Copy of I-612
  • Proof that you fulfilled the requirements by living and working in your home country for a full two years

NOTE: Individuals subject to 212(e) 2-year residence requirement are eligible for O-1 classification although s/he is not eligible to change from J to O status within the U.S. and must apply for an O visa abroad and re-enter in O-1 status.

If you have dependents in the U.S., they should:

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

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

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

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

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

4. Notice of Receipt and Approval Notice from USCIS.

You must receive the Approval Notice from USCIS before employment in O-1 status at Northwestern can begin.

  • 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.

5. Arrival and check-in.

You must retrieve your Approval Notice documents from the OISS and present the original to the Payroll Office prior to starting employment in O-1 status.