O1 US Visa from Bangladesh: Advantages and Requirements
When it comes to working temporarily in the United States, the O-1 visa is unbeatable. The benefits are substantial, but obtaining an O-1 is no easy task. You’ll need to show that you’re a foreign national of extraordinary achievement, and there’s a lot that goes into that. In this post, we’ll look at how you can qualify and how the O-1 visa benefits apply to your specific situation.
An Overview of O-1
So, to properly weigh the benefits versus the qualifications, let’s start with some background on the O-1 visa. Obtaining a visa for extraordinary achievements necessitates, well, extraordinary achievements. This may appear to be a broad statement, but the USCIS has very specific requirements for evidence of extraordinary achievements.
The O-1 visa is divided into two subcategories that are similar but distinct: O-1A and O-1B. The O-1A visa is intended for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, athletics, business, or education (left-brainers, if you will). Here is a list of evidence you can use to obtain O-1A benefits:
- A well-known international honor, such as the Nobel Prize or an Olympic medal
- A lesser-known but nationally or internationally recognized award
- A membership in a specialized organization in your field
- Mentions of your published work in trade journals
- Scholarly articles in your field that you’ve written
- Other notable contributions to your field
- earning a high salary
- Being a judge or member of a panel of judges for your peers
- Holding key positions for prestigious organizations in your field
The O-1B, as you might expect, is more for right-brained people and is geared toward exceptional actors and artists. The criteria for this one differ slightly from those for the O-1A. You must provide proof of:
- A prestigious award, such as an Oscar or a Grammy
- A role as the lead in a well-known production
- Having received national or international acclaim for your accomplishments
- A leading and/or starring role in a well-known company
- Reviews, publications, or other media coverage that demonstrates your commercial success
- earning a high salary
- Recognition for your accomplishments from reputable organizations
- Remember that if you have a top-tier award, such as a Nobel Prize or an Oscar, you meet the requirement. If you do not have a top-level award, you must show evidence of at least three of the other items on the list above.
Furthermore, these lists are not exhaustive, and additional evidence can be used. Your immigration attorney can advise you on what can be used in this situation.
Benefits of an O-1 Visa
So, now that we know the requirements for this visa, we can look at the O-1 visa benefits that come with the prestige. In general, we will cover the following topics:
Cost\Sponsors\sValidity Green Card Process for Period Assistants and Family Members
What is the price?
When compared to other nonimmigrant visas, the O-1 is relatively inexpensive. You must pay the $460 basic filing fee for the I-129 petition and the $190 fee for the DS-160 online application as the petitioner (only if you are outside of the U.S. and are going through consular processing). You can also pay $1,225 for premium processing to have your I-129 processing time reduced from six months to just 15 calendar days.
So, without premium processing, the O-1 visa costs between $460 and $650. In comparison to the hefty H-1B fees, which can exceed $6,000 at times, and the loose E-2 visa investment of $150,000, the O-1 visa is relatively inexpensive.
Who is willing to sponsor me?
One frequently asked question is, “Can I self-petition?” While it is possible to self-petition or self-sponsor through visas such as the E class, it is not possible through an O-1.
So why did we include it on the list of O-1 visa benefits? This visa is advantageous due to the flexibility of your sponsor. The majority of visas that require a sponsor stipulate that the sponsor must be an employer. However, because O-1 visa applicants are frequently contracted rather than hired on an as-needed basis, the sponsor can be either an employer or a U.S. agent.
An agent is someone who is hired to represent the O-1 applicant’s employment and interests. To qualify for the O-1, you must not be committed to any one employer or actively seek a job offer. You simply need someone to represent you and sponsor your visa. However, that person must represent you for the duration of your O-1 visa stay.
You can also seek employment directly from a company. If this is the case, you must ensure that this employer is your sole employer. You cannot switch from one to the other to keep your status, and you will need to apply for a new O-1 visa once your contract with your employer expires.
How long is the validity period of an O-1 visa?
This is where the O-1 visa benefits really shine. Most other visas have a maximum stay period. The H-1B visa allows you to stay for six years, the L-1 for five to seven years, and the J-1 for five years on average. In contrast, the O-1 visa allows for a three-year initial stay with unlimited extensions. In essence, you can stay and work in the United States as long as you have O-1 status and meet the requirements for an O-1 extension. These extensions are granted in one-year increments, but they are not guaranteed.
To petition for an O-1 visa extension, you must submit the following documents:
- Another I-129 form, as well as the filing fee
- A copy of your I-94 arrival/departure card with a valid departure date; and
- A written statement from your agent or employer explaining why the extension is necessary and why your continued presence in the United States is required.
Family members and assistants
Another advantage of the O-1 visa is that you can bring your family with you under O-3 status, which is granted to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. Their visa validity period will be the same as yours, and if you are granted an O-1 extension, it will be passed on to your O-3 family.
Under O-2 status, you can also bring along assistants who are considered essential to your work in the United States. Their status, like that of O-3 family members, is dependent on yours. If your status is extended, so will theirs. If your status is revoked, it affects theirs as well. Additionally, O-2 visa holders may bring their own family members under O-3 status.
Finally, O-2 and O-3 holders can change their status to lawful permanent resident, which we’ll discuss next.
Green Card from O-1 Visa
In the field of immigration law, a nonimmigrant visa with “dual intent” refers to one that allows the holder to pursue lawful permanent resident (green card) status while still a nonimmigrant. Not all visas are dual intent. The J-1, TN, and B-1 visas are notable exceptions.
A U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent should file (see Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf, along with the required evidence according to the form instructions. Your employer or agent cannot file the petition more than one year before they actually need your services. To avoid delays, your employer or agent should file your Form I-129 at least 45 days before the date of employment.
However, because the O-1 visa is considered dual intent, filing a petition for a green card will not jeopardize or otherwise negatively impact your status. This is the most valuable of the O-1 visa benefits for many people. If you want to make your stay in the United States permanent, here’s how to transition from O-1 status to green card.
You must first decide which green card you want to apply for. Because the qualifications are so similar, the majority of O-1 holders opt for the EB-1A for aliens of extraordinary achievement or the EB-1B for outstanding researchers and professors. Neither of these green cards requires a PERM Labor Certification, and the EB-1A does not require a job offer or a sponsoring employer, which is a significant benefit that allows you to keep your O-1 visa benefits. You can also apply for the EB-2 green card, which requires a PERM, a job offer, and a sponsor.
Once you’ve decided which green card path to take, you’ll need to file an I-140 petition. As your O-1 agent cannot petition for you, you must petition for yourself or your employer. When the USCIS receives your petition, that date becomes your priority date. It is your responsibility to keep up with the most recent final action dates on the monthly visa bulletin. Once you see that the final action date for your green card category and country has matched or passed your priority date, you will be able to proceed to the next step.
When your priority date is current, you can file an I-485 with the USCIS and pay the appropriate fees to have your status changed from O-1 to green card status. This process can take several years or only a few months, depending on which green card you choose and the final action dates in the visa bulletin. Speak with your immigration attorney to learn more about your specific situation.
O-1 Visa Requirements
To be eligible for an O-1 Visa, you must demonstrate “extraordinary ability” by receiving national or international recognition or acclaim. Given the qualifications, the O-1 Visa approval rate is relatively low; however, it’s worth investigating whether you might be eligible. You must also continue to work or perform in that field. Although the term “extraordinary” is generally subjective, it has some distinct definitions in this case.
“Extraordinary abilities” in science, business, athletics, and education refer to a level of verifiable expertise that elevates you above others in your field. This means you are among a small group of people at the top of your industry.
“Extraordinary ability” in the arts refers to notoriety or distinction. This means you’ve reached a level of proficiency that has earned you recognition in the arts community. You may be eligible if you are well-known or a leader in your field of the arts.
If you work in film or television, you must have achieved recognition or notoriety in your field. This means that your previous work was so exceptional that the industry recognized you. You may be eligible if your previous work has earned you verifiable recognition.
In each category, you may be able to demonstrate your extraordinary status by receiving industry awards, achieving notable success in specific endeavors, or displaying unique skill.
Obtaining an O-1 Visa
Any visa application requires close attention to detail; if you make a mistake or incorrectly represent yourself, your 0-1 visa will be denied. The O-1 Visa application process begins with the submission of a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services. The form should be submitted no more than a year in advance and no later than 45 days before your arrival in the country.
The Form I-129 and Consultation
The Form I-129 must also be accompanied by a consultation opinion that includes evidence from a credible source that the alien possesses extraordinary abilities, as well as a description of the proposed work that the O-1 Visa holder will be performing. The consultant must be a member of a “peer group” or have expertise in the relevant field.
A labor organization or guild in the respective field is typically referred to as a peer group. For example, if you are an instrumental musician, you can consult with the American Guild of Musical Artists. If no relevant guild or labor union is available, a person with specific expertise in the alien’s area of notoriety can be used.
If the consultant employs a watermark to verify their authenticity, ensure that the original version with the watermark is submitted to the USCIS. Make duplicates and keep them for your own records. Otherwise, sending a watermarked copy or an unwatermarked version may appear fraudulent or unauthentic.
Exceptions to Consultation
If certain circumstances apply, there are a few exceptions to the consultation requirement. You may not need the consultation if you can demonstrate that there is no peer group or labor organization in your field of expertise. Instead, the decision will be based on the evidence you present.
You may also be exempt from your consultation if you work in the arts and have previously visited the United States on an O-1 visa. If it has been less than two years since your last consultation and you are seeking readmission, the USCIS may waive the need for a second consultation.
Contract for O-1 Visa Petitioner and Beneficiary
The O-1 petitioner is usually an employer or a colleague who wants to bring an exceptional alien into the United States for a job or performance. As proof of the employment agreement, a copy of the written contract between the petitioner and the visiting alien is required. A written summary of an oral agreement can also be sent.
If you choose to include a summary of an oral agreement rather than a written contract, include anything that can add authenticity or clarity to the agreement’s terms. If you discussed terms via email, send copies as proof. Otherwise, write down the entire set of terms, including what the employer offered and what the visiting employee accepted.
Visa Extension for O-1
When you apply for an O-1 visa, your stay in the United States is limited to the duration of your event. This is known as the validity period. You also have 10 days before the validity period begins and 10 days after it ends to visit the United States.
The initial period of stay cannot exceed three years. You may, however, extend your stay if the authorized employment requires more time. An O Visa is unique in that there is no limit to the number of times you can extend your stay. However, in order to avoid an extension denial, your O-1 visa extension application must be complete and strong.
To apply for an extension, you must submit three documents to the USCIS:
- A Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129. This form serves several functions, one of which is to extend the time an O-1 Visa holder can stay in the United States.
- A copy of the I-94, Arrival and Departure Form The record that the visa holder was given when entering the United States (possibly on the plane). When entering the country, any non-citizen must fill out this form. It keeps track of your arrival date and your original departure date.
- A statement from the employer explaining why the stay should be extended. This should be a detailed explanation of why the project was delayed or needs to take longer.
- If the beneficiary is accompanied by a spouse or children, they must also file Form I-539 Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This should ideally be filled concurrently.
Employer Transfer for O-1 Visa
If you want to change jobs while on an O-1 visa, your new employer must file Form I-129. If there is a “material change” in your work, you must also file this form. This is a broad term that refers to any significant change in the nature of your work or in your working environment.
For example, if your job title changes due to a promotion or demotion, if you receive a raise, or if you relocate your office, this will be considered a material change.
If you are fired for any reason other than voluntarily resigning, your employer must provide funds for you to return to your last place of residence before entering the US. If the petition was filed by an agent, the agent is jointly liable with the employer for transportation funds.
Change of Status on an O-1 Visa
In some cases, an O-1 visa holder may apply for a change of status (COS) to another non-immigrant status or even permanent residency. This is due to the fact that the O-1 visa classification is considered to have “dual intent,” which means that, unlike other work visas such as the TN and J-1, you can pursue your green card while on O-1 status. If you are in the United States and want to change your status, you must first meet the following requirements:
- Been granted non-immigrant status in the country (like O-1)
- Have not committed a crime or any other act that would disqualify them from receiving immigrant benefits
- There can’t be any outstanding issues that force them to leave the country before changing classifications.
- A change of status application must be requested prior to the expiration date of the I-94.
Advantages of the O-1 Visa over H-1B and Other Work Visas
Because the H-1B visa and the O-1 visa have many of the same eligibility requirements, people frequently wonder which is better. An O-1 visa has three distinct advantages over an H-1B visa. The first benefit is that there is no annual fee.
The first advantage is that there is no annual quota on H-1B visas. The H-1B visa is limited to 65,000 in the regular cap and an additional 20,000 in the master’s exemption each year. The O-1, on the other hand, has no annual quota and is open to anyone who meets the qualifications.
The ability to extend your O-1 visa in one-year increments after the initial three-year granting period is the second advantage. These extensions can be granted indefinitely as long as the visa holder maintains his or her nonimmigrant status and can demonstrate that an extended stay in the United States is required to complete the work that brought the beneficiary to the country in the first place.
More information on O-1 visa extensions can be found in this guide. The H-1B visa is also initially granted for three years. Following that, there is an option to extend it for two years and possibly one more (though this is not guaranteed).
Individuals on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa are usually required to return home for two years as part of the residency requirement before applying for a H visa, L visa, or Lawful Permanent Resident status. Those who choose the O-1 option may be able to return to the United States without having to fulfill the two-year foreign residency requirement.
Sponsor of an O-1 visa
O-1 visa sponsors are typically divided into two categories: agents and employers. As you might expect, an employer is a company or individual for whom the applicant will be working or providing services. An agent, on the other hand, is hired to represent the applicant’s skills and find suitable work for them.
The following are the three critical components that a sponsor must provide on behalf of the applicant:
Name, address, tax ID number, gross income, net income, number of employees, and so on.
A signed petition requests that the individual be granted work authorization.
Sincere willingness to collaborate with them in the manner suggested.
Fees for O-1 Processing
Let’s start by breaking down the process to determine the O-1 processing fees required for each step. The following are the required O-1 visa fees for 2020:
The basic I-129 filing fee is $460, and it must be paid each time this petition is filed. This includes both extensions and amendments.
The DS-160 filing fee is $190.
Along with the mandatory O-1 processing fees, there may be additional costs to consider, such as:
Travel expenses to and from the United States embassy or consulate, as well as travel to the United States once the visa has been obtained
Attorney fees – Tahmidur Rahman Remura Law Group charges a flat rate for O-1 visa services. They are available on the fees page.
If you intend to bring your spouse or children to the United States, they will need to file an I-539 form when they are ready to extend their status. This form has a filing fee of $370.
You are not required to wait six months for your I-129 petition to be processed. The USCIS provides premium processing to those who submit an I-907 form with an additional O-1 processing fee of $1,440. This effectively reduces the time it takes to process your I-129 petition from six months to 15 calendar days.
Important: The USCIS recently announced that premium processing for all H-1B visa petitions will be suspended in 2020. This, however, only applies to the H-1B visa. This suspension does not apply if you are filing an I-129 petition for an O-1 visa.
If you do not choose premium processing, you will be charged a total of $650 in mandatory O-1 processing fees. However, depending on your situation and whether or not you choose to hire an immigration attorney, you may incur additional costs.
Is a Refund Available?
The USCIS is not in the business of issuing refunds. However, they have stated that there are a few specific situations in which an O-1 processing fee refund is possible:
If the USCIS has requested an unnecessary form with a fee.
If the USCIS has requested a fee payment that is greater than the amount stated on their website.
If the USCIS does not process your I-129 petition within 15 calendar days after you have paid the premium processing fee.
What is the best way for me to make these payments?
The USCIS requires you to pay the O-1 processing fees with a money order or a cashier’s check. It is generally recommended that each payment be made in separate checks or money orders, as adding them together may cause complications. Speak with your immigration attorney about the best way to pay your O-1 processing fees.
Fees for O-1 Visa Extension
As previously stated, another significant benefit of the O-1 visa is the ability to extend it indefinitely if the work that brought you to the United States has not been completed. You only need the following documents to extend or renew your visa:
- A new I-129 petition and the $460 O-1 processing fee are required.
- A copy of your I-94 arrival/departure form
- A written statement explaining why the extension is required
- If your spouse or dependents want to renew their visas, you’ll need an I-539 form and a $370 filing fee.
Is it Possible to Change Jobs?
To transfer your O-1 status to a new employer, the new employer must file a new I-129 petition along with the $460 O-1 processing fee.
2023 O-1 Visa Processing Time
You may also be wondering how long it will take to process your O-1 visa from start to finish. To find out, we must dissect each step and estimate the processing time.
The I-129 petition typically takes six months to process. This, however, is heavily dependent on the caseload of your service center. Using premium processing will reduce this time to 15 calendar days.
You should also consider how much time it will take to collect and organize the evidence needed to prove your eligibility for the O-1 visa.
If you are outside of the United States and require consular processing, the O-1 processing time may be extended depending on when the consulate or embassy schedules your interview appointment.
How Tahmidur remura Immigration Lawyers Can Assist
When it comes to a visa as prestigious as the O-1, the stakes can be high, and the possibility of making an innocent mistake can make filing your petition a nerve-racking experience. Protecting your investment is most likely a top priority for you and your case, and the best way to do so is to hire an expert to assist you in utilizing the O-1 visa benefits.
We’ve helped countless O-1 applicants and petitioners determine their eligibility, organize their documentation, file their petition, and address any issues such as Requests for Evidence at Tahmidur remura. With Tahmidur remura’s experienced team of dedicated immigration attorneys on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.
Fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a Tahmidur remura Law Group lawyer today.