Prospective or New Employees and Researchers

If you are not a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident and contemplate employment at the University of Chicago, it is important that you consider the following points carefully so as not to jeopardize your status in the U.S. 

If you are not yet in the U.S., it is important to know that you must not enter the U.S. as a visitor or tourist, regardless of what a consulate or embassy may tell you. If in doubt, double check with our office. This involves not only government regulations but also University policy, and the information a government official gave you may be incorrect. An error will very likely mean that you have to depart from the U.S. and start all over. Everyone who plans to be affiliated with the University of Chicago in any way (under an appointment or agreement) requires the appropriate status and visa. If you attempt to enter the U.S. without proper documentation, you may be turned away at the airport and forced to return to your home country at your own expense without ever leaving the international terminal. The processing of your status may take considerable time (possibly months), so plan ahead and contact us well in advance.

If you are already in the U.S., it is important to know that your status must be transferred to the University of Chicago. This can take considerable time, depending on status. You must not discontinue your existing H-1B or J-1 employment until our office has cleared you to do so. Otherwise, you may have to leave the U.S. and will only be allowed to re-enter when your documents have been approved by the appropriate government agency. It is important that you do not make spur-of-the-moment decisions in regard to your status, as it is usually not possible to resolve immigration matters after the fact.

Important Points:

  1. Do not to seek visa or status-related advisement from anyone other than OIA.
  2. Anyone coming to the University of Chicago under an appointment or an agreement must obtain the appropriate status and visa. For more information about the various statuses, please review this overview of immigration statuses that permit or require employment.

Common Employment-based Immigration Statuses:


​Case Processing Times:

Processing times outlined below start from the day OIA receives a complete request. Processing times may vary and are subject to change. All requests can be submitted up to 6 months in advance of the intended start date.

H-1B Requests
  • 45-60 business days using USCIS Premium Processing (expedited processing) 
  • 6-12 months using USCIS regular processing 
J-1 Exchange Visitor Requests
  • 30-45 business days for new/initial requests
  • 3-5 business days for extension/amendments
TN/E-3 Requests
  • 7-10 business days