How long can O visa holders stay in the U.S.?
The initial O visa period of stay allows visa holders to stay for up to three years, plus 10 days before and after this period to help transition into and out of the United States. Depending on the length of our event or activity, your O-1 status may be granted for a shorter period. As long as the need for your services continues, your sponsor can continue applying for an indefinite number of extensions in one-year increments.
What are the benefits of an O visa?
The O visa offers a number of benefits, a few of which are listed below:
- The processing time for an O visa is among the shortest of all employment-based visas, although it can vary from case to case.
- You can bring your family (spouse and children under 21 years old) with you to the United States on an O-3 visa.
- The USCIS Premium Processing service, which can expedite visa processing to about two weeks, is always available for the O visa. The same cannot be said for many other immigration statuses.
- There is no “hard” limit on the total amount of time (including extensions) that a visa holder can spend in the United States in O status. Compare that with the H-1B, which is normally subject to a six-year limit.
- Under most circumstances, a visa holder can travel in and out of the US freely. You might want to seek legal advice if you intend to travel outside of the United States while an application for permanent residence is pending, however.
How long does it take to process an O visa?
Generally speaking, it takes three or four months to process an O petition, which makes it faster than similar visas such as the L or the H-1B. There is no guarantee, however–a lot depends on the workload of the individual USCIS Service Center where your petition is submitted.
If you select Premium Processing, you pay a fee of $2,500 and the USCIS will process your application within 15 calendar days or refund your Premium Processing fee.
What is an O-2 Visa?
The O-2 visa is for people who accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist them in a specific event or performance.
What Does the Attorney Fee Cover?
An immigration attorney can help you with the following matters:
- Advising you on your likelihood of success, and inform you about other options in case your O petition is rejected.
- Providing attorney’s tips for O visa applicants, so that you do not commit one of the many possible pitfalls that could result in the rejection of your O visa petition.
- Helping you gather all evidence and supporting documentation, and help you decide what’s relevant and what’s not.
- Preparing Form I-129 (to be filed by your employer) and supporting documentation. Your attorney may need to draft portions of your advisory opinion letter, for example, to make sure that it addresses issues that are important to the USCIS.
- Helping you file Form DS-160 with the US State Department.
- Coaching you for your visa interview.
- Helping you apply for another visa, such as the H-1B, if your O visa petition is rejected.
- Assisting you in applying for O visa extensions in one-year increments.
- Helping you apply for a green card, hopefully without the need to leave the United States between the time you obtain O status and the time that you obtain a green card.
Unfortunately, no immigration attorney can guarantee that a visa petition will be approved. A skilled attorney can, however, guarantee to maximize the odds that your application will be successful.