OIA Procedures for Employment-based Cases

When a department hires an individual who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a Legal Permanent Resident (someone who has a “green card”), the appropriate status must be obtained for the individual to be employed with the University. The process must always be initiated by a unit of the University; it can never be initiated by the employee him/herself. The process must also take place before the foreign worker comes to the University. If you are unsure which status to request (and there are sometimes multiple options), please don’t hesitate to contact us at international-affairs@uchicago.edu or (773) 702-7752 and ask to speak to someone who can advise you.

In most instances, a University employee will qualify for one or more of the following employment-based statuses:

  • H-1B - Often referred to as the “work visa” and available to all nationalities
  • H-1B1 - A status similar to H-1B but available only to citizens of Singapore and Chile
  • TN - A status similar to H-1B but available only to citizens of Canada and Mexico
  • E-3 - A status similar to H-1B but available only to citizens of Australia

Please note: This document does not consider procedures for J-1 status, as those are significantly different from those for the statuses listed above. For more information on bringing someone to the University in J status, please see https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu/page/j-1-scholar-matters

If someone is being hired who is in valid F-1 status through another institution and is authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), or is in valid J-1 status through another institution and is authorized for Academic Training (AT), you can employ him/her without any additional paperwork from OIA. However, please feel free to contact us if you have questions in such a case.

In cases where an individual is not eligible for any of these statuses (which could have a variety of reasons), other options may be available. We will be glad to advise you on a case-by-case basis. You may also want to visit http://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu and peruse the information provided under the Administrators and Faculty link in the left navigation bar.

Please note that a case may include paperwork for a dependent spouse and/or children as well.

Once you are ready to make a processing request to OIA, please refer to the Sponsorship Request Forms

We ask that you do NOT save this form to your desktop, because you would miss any updates that are made to the form over time, which would then delay your request.

As soon as OIA receives a request, certain other processing steps begin as well. One is that you will receive an e-mail confirmation that we have received the request. If you do not receive such a confirmation within three business days of having sent your request, you should contact us. We will also immediately review the request to determine whether there are obvious problems with the case, for example with the employment start date you envision for the job. If we see any problem, we will contact you right away. We will also contact you if along the way we receive information that changes the case somehow, for example because of information contained in documents we receive from the foreign worker.

OIA is committed to processing a case from receipt of the request to submission to USCIS in no more than 45 days (or approximately 6 weeks). If for some reason this is not possible, for example, because we have not been able to get documents from the foreign worker that are needed for the petition, we will contact you.

Processing times for the various types of H-1B petitions vary depending on a number of factors. It is important that you are aware that cases can take several months to run their course. 

As the petition is submitted to USCIS and updates are received by our office, you will be notified automatically along the way. This includes submission of relevant documents from our office to the Payroll Office when receipt notification or approval of the petition is received.

Once the foreign worker begins his/her employment with the University, it is important that you realize that some HR transactions require different handling than those for a domestic employee.  Please visit H-1B Management At-a-Glance for additional details. 

When an H-1B (H-1B1, TN, E-3) employee leaves the employment of the University, please inform us of that fact. An e-mail message providing the employee’s full name, department, and date of termination of employment is all we need.

And finally: Never provide immigration-related advisement yourself. Relevant law is complex and changes frequently, and an apparently small fact can change a situation completely. Errors can be very costly for the employee and the University. Please refer foreign employees to our office.