O-1 INSTEAD OF H-1B

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O-1 INSTEAD OF H-1B?

Professionals coming to the U.S.A. may be so well qualified that there may be a number of different non-immigrant visas available due to their professional, academic or in some cases award-winning qualifications. Selecting the right visa may significantly increase the likelihood of a visa application being approved. It may be more beneficial for a visa seeker to chase an H-1B rather than an O-1 or vice versa.

The H-1B and 0-1 visas do share some common features. The H-1B visa permits professionals from overseas to enter the U.S. to work in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. This includes in occupations related to such disciplines as the sciences, engineering, biotechnology, mathematics, medicine, business skills, etc. The O-1 visa status goes a step further and is reserved for foreigners that possess an extraordinary aptitude in the arts (including TV and movie performers) the sciences, business or sports and athletics. This extraordinary ability needs to be backed up through evidence including scholarly publications or evidence of a high salary that has been received. A foreigner who seeks an H-1B visa through science achievement may qualify for an O-1 visa as well if the necessary proof can be found.

There are similarities between these two visas as they are both employer-sponsored, and permit spouses and the children of the primary visa holder to come to the USA too.

The benefits of an O-1 Visa

There is no annual quota as there is with an H-1B visa.

There is also no time limit as there is with an H-1B visa – The USCIS can grant an O-1 visa for any time period which depends on the applicants job but in theory could be indefinite if the employer proves the value of the employee to the USCIS.

From J-1 to O-1 or H-1B status

Many people who stay in the United States on a J-1 Exchange Visitor basis must fulfill a two year foreign residency which means they have to go back to their country of origin for a two year period after completing their J-1 visa status before they can apply for an H or L visa status or upgrade to a status as permanent resident. However, it may be possible for them to return to the U.S. on other types of visas like an O-1 without the necessity to fulfill the foreign residency period.

This might make O-1 more attractive for those professionals who were hoping to remain in the country on an H-1B visa status. Anyone contemplating this option should remember that even working on an O-1 visa after completing the J-1 program, he or she will not be permitted to take up permanent residency without completion of the foreign residency unless they have been waived of completing this requirement.

The U.S. offers many visa options so it’s best to consult with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney before choosing what is best for you.

Return to “The H-1B Visa” to learn more.

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