Prospective and New H-1B Employees

Before Coming to the University of Chicago

Forms relevant to your H-1B status before we file your petition:

Important Considerations:

  1. The University must file an H-1B petition for you, regardless of what your current situation is.
  2. Whether to sponsor an employee is a decision that lies with a department, and only the department can initiate the process with our office. So please contact the department first as only your department in the University can initiate the filing of a petition. While we will collect information from you, the processing of your H-1B petition will only begin when a department initiates the process with our office.
  3. Any petition filed on your behalf requires substantial support documentation. Your cooperation in providing this documentation will help us process your petition quickly. Failure to provide requested documentation will cause the process to be delayed or stall.
  4. If you are currently abroad, you must await the approval of the petition, then obtain an H-1B visa to enter the U.S.
  5. Once you arrive in the U.S. in H-1B status, you must proceed to begin your employment right away.
  6. If you are currently in the U.S. in H-1B status, but with another employer, it takes 45 days to "transfer" your H-1B status to the University of Chicago. (This is referred to as "portable.") You must not discontinue your previous employment until our office indicates that you may do so. Discontinuing your previous employment too soon will result in you having to leave the U.S. and returning when your H-1B petition has been approved (which can take 4 months or more).
  7. If you are currently at the University of Chicago in H-1B status and your status must be extended, the extension process will take 45 days to process. If you have H-4 dependents, their status must be extended by submitting the Form I-539. The extension of your status does not extend the status of the H-4.
  8. If you are currently in the U.S. with the University or with another employer and we are filing a petition for you (portable or extension), you will not be able to leave the U.S. and re-enter while your petition is pending, if your previous H-1B status has expired.
  9. If you are accompanied in the U.S. by a dependent spouse or child, he/she will be in H-4 status. Separate processes are required for individuals in H-4 status.
  10. On occasion, individuals who become affiliated with the University of Chicago wish to make a financial contribution to one of the many important endeavors the University supports.  If you consider this, please check with your H-1B adviser first to ascertain that what you plan will not jeopardize your lawful status. 

Immediately upon Arrival:

Check In with OIA:

Upon arrival in the US, you must check in with the Office of International Affairs as soon as possible. Please visit  our office (no appointment is needed) and bring your various immigration related documents. Alternatively, you can complete the H-1B Check-In Form and fax it along with the documentation listed in it to OIA.

Address Change:

Each individual in H-1B status is responsible for updating his or her address in a timely fashion (i.e. within ten days) to USCIS by filing a form AR-11. This form can be completed online or can be sent to USCIS via mail. Please be sure to retain a copy of the AR-11 form for your files. Filing this form is free of charge. Please visit the USCIS website for the most recent AR-11 form, or click here. Please also provide your updated address information to the human resources administrator in your department and OIA; you may do so by sending e-mail to

If you have questions, please contact us!

If we are currently processing your case: Please contact the H-1B Adviser who contacted you with a request for documents. He/she will oversee your case to conclusion and will best be able to answer your questions. E-mail is usually the best way to reach us.

If you have a general question: Please contact our front desk at or (773) 702-7752. The staff will be able to either answer your question or connect you to the right person in our office.

Welcome to the University of Chicago! We hope that your stay here will be happy and successful and we look forward to support you in every way we can!