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Research Staff Resources


Postdoctoral Fellows:

If you are receiving your degree from a U.S. institution, you will need to apply for your F1-OPT. You will complete this process with your institution’s International Office.

You will not be able to begin your employment until you have your EAD card; receipts will not be eligible for employment. Please make sure you update your address with the USCIS to receive your card as quickly as possible.

If you are not eligible for the F1-OPT, the department will assist you with obtaining your J1 visa. Please do not ask for any other visa options other than those listed above.

Visiting Scholars, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows and Visiting Pre-doctoral Fellows:

The department will assist you with obtaining your J-1 visa.

You will need to provide us with a letter from your home institution or government that shows the amount you will be paid each month. You must meet certain minimums established by the Department of State. All J-1 applicants must provide proof of funding for the duration of their stay. Minimum levels: $1,765/month or $21,180/year for a J-1. Add $525/month for a J-2 spouse and $442/month for each J-2 child. Does not include health/child care costs.

**You must purchase visiting scholar health insurance through our Student Health Office; no exceptions allowed. The department does not accept plans from outside insurers.**

The cost is $50.00 ($2,600/year) per week for an individual, and $160.00 per week ($8,320/year) for a family. The total amount of your plan must be paid in full upon arrival to the department. We accept cashier checks, checks drawn on a U.S. banking institution and cash. Credit cards are not accepted.


The information below is designed to assist you in getting acquainted with Evanston and Northwestern University. Various forms are included and should be completed prior to checking in with the department.

Forms and that must be completed:

Listed below are the various forms, with hyperlinks, that must be completed, unless otherwise indicated. All original forms should be completed, and signed (if applicable), and presented to the department representative upon arrival. 

  1. Personal Data Form – Please complete this form as much as you are able. This form will be sent to our payroll department for processing your appointment.
  2. Direct Deposit Form – (for paid employees only) All salary is distributed via direct deposit. If you cannot complete this form prior to check in, you may update your direct deposit information directly through our myHR portal.
  3. Applicable tax documents – Tax forms are dependent upon your citizenship status and any applicable tax treaties. Upon arrival it will be determined what forms you require, or what online forms will be sent to you via the tax compliance office.
  4. Online I-9 (section 1) – Please select WCAS as the school/center, and 2775 WCAS Physics & Astro as the department when prompted. Foreign nationals should complete this after arriving in the U.S. Once section 1 is complete, please take your documents and passport to the Payroll Office to complete section 2. The Payroll Office is located at 720 University Place.

Training that must be completed:

  1. After you have been granted your NetID (please see below regarding information about your NetID), you must complete the online CITI – Responsible Conduct for Research training module.

The user goes to “Log in via SSO” on the right.

Then finds Northwestern from the list.

The next screen will show “RCR course for graduate students and postdocs in WCAS Division 1: Sciences and Math.”
All modules and quizzes must be completed.

Information about your Employee ID and NetID:

You will receive your employee ID and NetID approximately one to two weeks after your check in with the department. The Academic Coordinator will email this information to you. Within the email you will find instructions to activate your NetID and obtain your new Northwestern email address. During the summer and/or holidays, this process could take longer.

New Employee Orientation, Health Insurance and Benefits:

All employees must attend New Employee Orientation which is held every other Wednesday on the Evanston campus. You may find more information on the NU online calendar.

You must be covered by adequate health insurance while here at Northwestern. For paid research staff, you will enroll in your benefits via the myHR portal. All questions regarding benefits and eligibility should be directed to the Benefits Office at 720 University Place. You have 31 days from the date of hire to enroll in a health plan.

You can find more information on our benefits at

If you are an unpaid scholar, you must obtain visiting scholar health insurance through Risk Management. Please activate your card upon arrival. If applicable, please reimburse the department upon checking in with the Academic Coordinator. We only accept cash, cashier’s check, money order, or checks drawn upon a U.S. banking institution.

Mailboxes (for longer term staff and scholars):

You mailbox is located in our mail room. All mail is sorted by research groups. Please see Bud Robinson if you have any questions.

Payroll and Paychecks:

If you are a foreign national, you will need to register with FNIS. Please complete the FNIS Access Request Form and submit to payroll at the email address provided. You will be contacted by payroll instructing you to complete various forms. Please complete this task as quickly as possible; you will not be paid until you do so. For permanent residents and citizens, please complete the Federal and State W-4. These forms can be found here. Please return to payroll either in person, or via campus mail.

Social Security Cards (for foreign nationals who are paid by Northwestern):

To receive your social security card, please wait 10 days prior to visiting the local Social Security Office. Please take your appointment letter, passport all other visa documents with you.

The Social Security Office is located at 2116 Green Bay Road in Evanston.

Wildcard/Staff ID:

The Northwestern University ID card cannot be issued until you have your employee ID. Once you have your ID number, please obtain this card from the Wildcard office located within the Norris Student center.


Research Staff are eligible for parking privileges. The parking office is located at within the Segal Visitor Center on the south end of campus. The cost will be deducted via payroll deduction. If you need a temporary pass, please let us know, and a letter will be prepared upon your behalf requesting a temporary pass.

Name/Address/Emergency Contact Information:

Please update this information through the FASIS portal. All foreign nationals will need to update address with the International Office as well.


Upon check in, we will take your photo to upload to our website. If you prefer, please submit your own photo before your arrival. The photo should be a headshot, and 168 x 210 pixels.