Like an EB-1 immigrant visa, an O-1 visa is also for aliens who possess extraordinary abilities but are in the non-immigrant category. It is available for those who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics or who have demonstrated a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
Getting an O-1 visa approved is important, but getting it extended is equally important. Once you get your O-1 visa approved by the US concerned authorities, you get the visa for a period required to complete the event (i.e., grant, project, tour, etc.) for which the visa is granted and not exceeding three years.
Most cases that come to our law firm require more than a three years period, and we advise them to apply for an extension of their O-1 visa to complete the said event. O-1 visa extensions are available in 1-year increments and can be applied any number of times, but there are certain requirements you must fulfill before the US authorities grant you an O-1 visa extension. This article will explain the process involved in an O-1 visa extension and guide you on how you can apply.
What are the requirements to file for an O-1 visa extension?
Before you decide to apply for an O-1 Visa extension, you should make sure that you comply with certain requirements. It is pertinent because if you fail to comply with those requirements, your application for an extension could be rejected by the authorities. The requirements are:
- That you were admitted in the US with legal O-1 status, and the status is not expired at the time you are making the application for an extension. #
- That you have not violated the conditions of your admission into the US and have not committed a crime that could potentially risk the approval of your application.
- That your passport is valid throughout your tenure in the US
If you fulfill these conditions, you can plan ahead for your application for an extension of your O-1 visa.
How can I apply for an O-1 visa extension?
Once you are ready to file your application, you would require the following documents to file your O-1 visa application.
- Form I-129(to be filed by your employer) – The employer who is sponsoring you for an O-1 visa has to file Form I – 129, Petition for the non-immigrant worker.
- Copy of your I-94 (arrival and departure records)
- Reason for your extension application – Apart from the above two requirements, you have to submit a statement stating the reasons for requesting an O-1 visa extension. The reason could be an unexpected increase in the time required to complete the project for which you were granted an initial O-1 visa ( for example – delay due to some external factors or past anticipation to complete the event within three years was wrong and more time is required)
You should keep track of when you will apply for an extension. Don’t apply too late otherwise, your O-1 visa status will expire before the approval of your extension application, and you have to leave the US. Also, O-1 visa extensions are given to the applicants on an O-1 visa and who cannot anticipate the completion of their project. So, do not apply too early; otherwise, the authorities would suspect that you pre-planned the extension request and would eventually reject your extension application.
So what would be the ideal time to apply for an O-1 visa extension? Typically we would suggest that you should consider applying for an O-1 visa extension in the 45 days before your O-1 visa status expires. This would give enough time to the authorities to consider your application. But, in the end, consult an experienced immigration attorney beforehand who would assist you with your extension application.
What will happen if my O-1 visa extension application is denied. Can I appeal against the authority’s decision?
If your application is bonafide and you have a valid reason for your O-1 visa extension, there is a very high chance that your O-1 visa extension application will get accepted. However, in case your application is rejected by the USCIS authorities; unfortunately, you cannot appeal against the decision of the authorities. You have to leave the US after your O-1 visa status expires, or you have to apply for a different visa.
What will happen after my O-1 visa extension application gets approved?
After the immigration authorities give approval to your extension application, they will send you a second I-94 that will extend the date that you are expected to leave the US. You have to keep both your I-94 safe and have to be submitted when you are departing the US.
What about the family members and team members that have come with the O-1 applicant?
Family members who can come with you have to apply for an O-3 visa, and team members who are accompanying you to the event have to file an O-2 visa. To extend their O visa status, they must file I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Like their initial O-2 and O-3 status depends on the approval of your O-1 status, the extension will also depend upon the approval of your O-1 visa.
The approval of your O-1 visa extension application will depend on factors like the evidence showing the requirement, timing of your visa application, etc. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney is always a perk for the applicant and increases their chances of approval by submission of error-free application.
The immigration attorneys at Sethi and Mazaheri law firm aim to help the applicants in getting their US visas approved. You can contact us by dropping a message, and our immigration attorney will reach out to you to personally hear your case.