MENU Office of International Services

Pre-Arrival

Please note that the information below pertains to individuals who have already completed the OIS H-1B application process with a UIC sponsoring department. 

  • Apply for a Visa
  • Prepare for Life at UIC
  • Arrival at the U.S. Port-of-Entry
  • Check In at OIS
  • Other Considerations

    Apply for a Visa

    In order to apply for your H-1B visa (and H-4 dependent visas) you will need to schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy (it is recommend that you apply for a visa in your home country, if possible.) At your appointment, you will present your original Form I-797 (mailed to you from OIS), as well as the copies of the LCA and form I-129 that are part of the H-1B application process. Review the U.S. Department of State’s information on U.S. visas for employment. They list detailed information about the process and which documents to bring to your interview. The Consulate is required to verify your H-1B approval in the “PIMS” database. Once the visa is granted and stamped in your passport you are ready to make travel arrangements to the United States.

    Canadian citizens only: You do not need an H-1B visa, but you must still present the documents sent to you by OIS, or pre-flight inspection station. In order to enter the United States, you must have a passport identifying you as a Canadian citizen. Also, be sure that the officer issues you a Form I-94 for H-1B status (see below).

    Prepare for Life at UIC

    The Life in Illinois and Resources sections of the OIS website have a variety of information to help you prepare for your arrival in Chicago. Information includes: climate, currency, public transportation, housing, and other topics. You may also find the Life at UIC links on the main UIC homepage helpful in navigating employee benefits, calendars, technology, health and safety issues, and transportation.

     

    Arrival at the U.S. Port-of-Entry

    Arrival date: YOU MAY ONLY ENTER THE U.S. UP TO 10 DAYS BEFORE THE START DATE ON YOUR H-1B I-797 APPROVAL NOTICE. An immigration officer at the Port of Entry may refuse you admission if you arrive before this time.

    Inspection at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP): Upon arrival you must present your passport and Form I-797 to the immigration officer. The officer may ask you for additional information, such as a copy of your UIC job offer letter. The officer will stamp your passport and enter you into the CBP arrival/departure database. This entry will be known as your “Form I-94” or “Admission Number.” Please make sure that the entry stamp and Form I-94 indicate “H-1B” and that the end date corresponds with your Form I-797, or with an additional 10 days added. If you are entering with H-4 dependents, make sure their documents indicate “H-4” not “H-1B.”

    Customs: Review the CBP website for information on items that may be restricted or prohibited from entering the U.S.

     

    Check In at OIS

    In order to begin your employment at UIC, you will need to visit OIS. Call or email us to schedule a check-in appointment. Please bring your passport, original Form I-797, and Form I-94 printout.  Also, please be ready to provide a U.S. address, even if it is a temporary address.

     

    Other Considerations

    Delayed entry: If your visa is delayed at the Consulate, or if there are other unforeseen occurrences which will prevent you from beginning your employment on time, please relay that information to your UIC department contact and OIS.

    Dependents: A dependent is a spouse or child under the age of 21. Dependents are considered “H-4s.”  Your H-4s will not need a separate I-797 approval notice if they are accompanying you to the U.S. Please note, it is possible to have your dependents join you in the U.S. at a later time.