New Employee Checklist for Foreign Nationals
This resource is intended for any foreign national newly employed by Northwestern University in the United States. A foreign national is a person who is not a citizen of the United States and is a citizen of a foreign country. Foreign Nationals who are newly hired by Northwestern University (and will receive a paycheck from Northwestern University) must complete these steps.
Step 1: Activate Northwestern NetID and Email
(F-1 & J-1 sponsored by Northwestern)
- Activate NetID
- Create Northwestern student email account (G Suite). NetID activation & email account creation would have been completed prior to receiving access to the OISS portal to request a Form I-20 or DS-2019.
- Set up Duo Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Set up Display Name (nickname or preferred name) and preferred email and pronouns. See "Display Name and Pronouns" at Personal Information and Records on the HR website.
Step 4 is optional.
F-1 & J-1 students whose immigration records are NOT sponsored by Northwestern University do NOT need to check in with OISS. Instead, you must check-in with your program sponsor and receive authorization before starting any work.
Foreign National Employee
- A Northwestern NetID and email address is automatically created for a new employee once the hire is processed by Human Resources. Learn more about employee NetID assignment on the HR website.
- Employees sponsored by Northwestern University, need to Check-in with both OISS (see step #2) and hiring department. Most common sponsored employees are H-1B or J-1 visa holders.
Foreign nationals whose immigration record is not sponsored by Northwestern University do NOT need to check with OISS.
Step 2: Complete virtual check-in with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS)
See the appropriate instructions below.
International Students (F-1 & J-1 sponsored by Northwestern)
Foreign nationals employed by Northwestern but not sponsored by Northwestern
Foreign nationals whose immigration record is not sponsored by Northwestern University do NOT need to check-in with OISS. Skip this step and proceed to step 3.
Complete check-in via email by emailing the following items to your assigned OISS Scholar Advisor:
- I-94 Record
- JPEG or PDF of visa page in passport
- Image of admission stamp in passport (if given)
Step 3: Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Foreign nationals who already have a Social Security Card should skip this step and proceed to step #4.
Only apply for an ITIN if you are NOT eligible for a Social Security Number. See the OISS Social Security resource to determine if you are eligible.
Read more about Social Security and Tax Identification Numbers on the HR website.
Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) (processing takes 2-6 weeks)
See complete instructions and required documents at How to Apply for an SSN.
After you receive your Social Security Card:
- If you have presented I-9 documents already, send an email to askHR@northwestern.edu to request access to add your SSN to Section 1 of your I-9.
- If you have not completed the I-9, start Section 1 of your I-9. See Step 4 below.
Who should apply for an ITIN?
Foreign Nationals who will receive stipends from a scholarship or fellowship, but will not be employed by Northwestern University, such as a graduate assistantship or temporary employment, will not be eligible for a SSN and must instead apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Students who receive an ITIN and later become eligible for a SSN should then apply for a SSN and cancel their ITIN.
ITIN applications are often completed with the Univeristy as part of the on-boarding FNIS process. See Step #5 below.
Step 4: Complete Form I-9
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the U.S. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.
- Complete section 1 of the I-9 no later than the first day of employment/paid status: https://northwestern.i9servicecenter.com/Login.aspx .
- Create a UserID and Password under the New Employees section.
- Present acceptable documents (passport, I-94, I-20, DS-2019, I-797, or EAD) to a Northwestern representative in your department or HR Operations no later than third day of employment/paid status.
- Once SSN is received, contact askHR@northwestern.edu and ask for your I-9 to be opened.
Step 5: Register for Foreign National Information System (FNIS)
Northwestern University's Payroll Office is located at 1800 Sherman Ave, 1st floor, Evanston.
- Complete the FNIS request form and submit to Payroll office or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You will receive an email within 48 hours with UserID, password and additional instructions.
- Complete data entry at https://fnis.thomsonreuters.com/northwestern/ on page 1-5 and submit on page 6. See the FNIS Tip Sheet for guidance on how to complete the electronic forms.
- Submit your data electronically and your FNIS tax forms will be ready for signature within 48 hours.
- Visit Payroll Office to sign your paperwork and present your documents. You will need to present the following: passport, visa, immigration documents (I-20, DS-2019, I-797 and/or IAD), and most recent I-94 Record.
Step 6: Set up direct deposit and confirm your address
- Set up Direct Deposit to receive your paycheck electronically.
- Login to MyHR with your NetID and password to review and confirm your legal/mailing address.