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International Postdocs

International Postdoc Visa Process

Incoming international Postdoctoral Scholars generally are sponsored on a J-1 visa. If a postdoc is currently on a J-1 visa with another institution, the UW will sponsor the transfer of the J-1 and any subsequent extensions. Any employee on a J-1 visa must exhaust their five years of J-1 eligibility before changing status to H-1B. If a postdoc is currently on an H-1B visa with another institution, the UW will sponsor the transfer of the H-1B and any subsequent extensions. 

Upon receipt of the signed offer letter, Biology HR will submit a request to the College of Arts and Sciences visa team requesting a visa process. The CAS team will reach out directly to the Postdoctoral Scholar for all required documents. Click the link below to view the document requirements for J-1 and H-1B visa and dependent applications. If you have questions about the E-3, TN, or OPT, please contact the Biology HR team ( Please also review the Employment Visa Timelines (below).

Employment Visa Timelines (updated 06/15/2021)

Resources for International Postdocs

Glacier Tax Compliance

Once you are hired to work, entered as an employee in Workday, and your I-9 has been verified, you will receive an invitation to set up your UW Glacier Tax Compliance account. This process is simple (click here for complete instructions). Along with your basic contact information, you will need: your visa start and end dates; your passport page with visa stamp; and, your social security number or ITIN. This should be done within the first week of your start date.

Review additional information on international taxes

J-1 Exchange Visitors Check-In at ISO

All J-1 holders new to the University of Washington (including transfers from another school in the U.S.) must visit the International Scholars Office (ISO) to report their arrival on campus to the Department of Homeland Security as required by federal law. This "check-in" session must occur no later than 30 days after the program start date indicated in Item 3 of the DS-2019 form. J-1 Exchange Visitors must attend check-in at ISO prior to applying for a social security number.

J-1 holders must register online at least 24 hours in advance to attend one of the sessions.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

International employees of the University of Washington must apply for a social security number. Salary may be withheld until the number is issued. The Social Security Office recommends that applicants wait at least 10 days after entering the U.S. before applying for the social security number. Also note that J-1 Exchange Visitors must attend check-in at ISO prior to applying for a social security number (see instructions for ISO check-in above).

To obtain a social security number, the applicant must visit the local Social Security Office and present the following documents:

Obtaining a Washington State Driver License

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) issues driver licenses and identification (ID) cards for people residing in Washington State. A driver license provides permission to drive in Washington and serves as official identification. The ID card does not authorize driving, but serves as official identification. It can be useful to have legal identification from Washington for activities such as banking, domestic travel, proving your age (such as at 21-and-over venues), etc. Review the instructions for obtaining a state driver license or ID card.

Date last changed May 5th, 2022 @ 17:20:05 PDT