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Quick Guide to Hiring


Quick Guide to Hiring for International Faculty, Staff, and Scholars

Most internationals coming to work, teach, perform research, or other related duties at UIC will need to be sponsored through the Office of International Services. The following is a list of common non-immigrant classifications that allow an individual to work in the United States, and which require OIS/UIC sponsorship.

There are other non-immigrant classifications that do not require UIC sponsorship, such as B-1, WB, and “pending Permanent Residence not based on UIC employment,” among others.

Keep in mind that the information below is only a basic guide for UIC-sponsored internationals. OIS will make all final determinations regarding the most appropriate non-immigrant classification for each individual case.


H-1B Temporary Skilled Workers

Basic Requirements: Bachelor’s degree or higher. The person must have the degree required by the position, and there must be a direct relationship between the person’s degree and their work. H-1B status allows immigrant intent. Appropriate for both non-tenure track and tenure track positions.

Program limit: Up to 3 years at a time, for up to 6 years total. Extensions beyond six years may be possible under certain circumstances.

Restrictions: Those individuals subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement, 212(e), as a result of previous J-1 status do not qualify unless 1) the J-1 visitor completes the home residence requirement or 2) obtains a recommendation from Department of State for a waiver. A minimum salary is required, however, the minimum acceptable salary will not be known until after the sponsorship process has been initiated by OIS.

Agencies involved: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

Processing times:

  • New employment: 4-6 months normally, or 3-4 months if Premium Processing is used to expedite service.
    • First time employment at UIC in H-1B status
    • Does not currently hold H-1B status elsewhere (a.k.a. “Portability”)
  • New employment, Portability: 2-3 months
    • International currently holds H-1B status with another employer
    • Premium Processing not necessary unless international travel is planned shortly
  • Extension: 2-3 months
    • Extension of current UIC employment without change in position
  • Amendment: 2-3 months
    • Change in UIC H-1B’s current employment, i.e. a promotion
    • Discuss case with OIS in advance

Fees: Appropriate departmental fees will apply.


J-1 Exchange Visitors

Basic Requirements: May be used for short to medium-term visitors. Funding may come from various sources: UIC, personal funds, or outside sources, such as one’s home government. The J program has multiple “categories;” OIS will determine the appropriate category for each case based upon information provided on the DS-2019 Request Form. All J-1 categories must demonstrate sufficient English proficiency. Other requirements depend upon the category:

  • Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar/Professor, and Specialist: Must have at least some graduate education, plus demonstrated expertise in his or her field.
  • Student Intern: Must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. The UIC internship must fulfill the educational objectives for his or her foreign degree program.

Program limit: Limits range from 6 months to 5 years depending on the J-1 category.

Restrictions: J-1 status does not allow immigrant-intent and is therefore not appropriate for tenure-track positions. The “12-month bar” prohibits a person from becoming a Research Scholar/Professor for 12 months if he or she was previously in J status for more than 6 of the previous 12 months in a category other than Short Term Scholar. The “24-month bar” prohibits a person from becoming a Research Scholar/Professor for 24 months, if they were previously a Research Scholar/Professor.

Agencies involved: OIS is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue a Form DS-2019, which the Exchange Visitor would use to apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

Processing times: Up to 10 business days. Please note, however, that applications should be submitted to OIS at least 2-3 months prior to the intended start date.

Fees: Appropriate departmental fees will apply.


TN - NAFTA Professional Worker

Basic Requirements: Must be a Canadian or Mexican citizen who has been admitted on a temporary basis to engage in business on a professional level under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Not appropriate for tenure-track positions.

Program limit: Granted for up to one year at a time and is renewable annually for an indefinite period.

Restrictions: Must have Canadian or Mexican citizenship. Their field must fall under the list of professions in the NAFTA agreement, and they must have the appropriate degree listed. A list of NAFTA Professions can be found in our TN information.

Agencies involved:

  • USCIS – if OIS processes an extension or change of status within the U.S.
  • USCBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) if they are entering the U.S. directly in this status.

Processing times:

  • By petition to USCIS: (if in the country and/or travel is not wanted), approximately 2-3 months unless Premium Processing is used to expedite service
  • By border crossing with inspection: immediate (See OIS TN information.)


  • Appropriate departmental fees will apply
  • At border: check with border posts for current fees


O-1 Workers of Extraordinary Ability

Basic Requirements/Restrictions: Individual must be in the top 5% of their field internationally, and their preeminence must be documented. Often used for people who do not qualify for H-1B status because of the two-year home residence requirement due to prior J status. Change of status in the U.S. is not possible if the person is subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement. For those individuals, travel and obtaining new entry visas would be necessary for the O-1 and their dependents to obtain O status after the USCIS approves the person for O-1 classification.

Program limit: Three years initially, after which it may be extended (indefinitely) in one year increments.

Agencies involved: Regional service center of USCIS

Processing times: Approximately 3-6 months, unless Premium Processing is used to expedite service.

Fees: Appropriate departmental fees will apply.


Permanent Residence

For employment-based Permanent Residence information see the Permanent Residence section of our website.