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O-1 (Individuals of Extraordinary Ability)

 

Work Authorization

  • Work only in the authorized place(s) of employment described in the I-129 petition filed with USCIS and for the period approved on your I-797.
  • Do not accept additional employment or work at an additional location without consulting with OIS in advance.
  • You can have more than one O-1 sponsor, but this requires a separate I-129 filing.
  • Have the department notify OIS if significant changes in duties, responsibilities, or work site are expected during your authorized employment. An amended petition may be necessary.

 

Immigration Documents

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Retain copies of all immigration documents including: current and expired passports, Forms I-797, I-94, etc.
  • There is a fee to request a duplicate I-797 approval notice, if lost.  OIS maintains your original in our office.
  • If you changed from another immigration status or employer, notify your last institution of your UIC O-1.
  • I-94:
    • Always review and save your new I-94 after reentry at: www.cbp.gov/I94.
    • Form I-94 must indicate "Admitted as: O-1" and “Admitted until date” matching your I-797 O-1 approval notice, or with an additional 10 days.
    • Incorrect end date: If your I-94 indicates any other expiration date, contact OIS. Passport expiry within six month is a common reason for a shortened I-94. If this occurs, your work authorization and status are shortened to this date and we must work to re-extend your status as soon as possible.

 

O-1 Validity Period

  • No maximum allowable time in O-1, though you must continue to meet the standards for the classification.
  • Renewals: Your department will need to initiate the O-1 extension process at least 4-6 months prior to your O-1 expiry date. Extensions may only be filed for one-year increments. You may continue to work for 240 days while the O-1 extension is pending with USCIS.
  • Extensions cannot be filed once an adjustment of status application has been submitted.

 

O-3 Dependents

  • Dependents are not eligible to work, paid or unpaid. They may attend school as long as they are not paid (such as receiving an assistantship).

 

Address Changes

  • Report any change in residential address, within 10 days of moving, to USCIS (Form AR-11), to OIS by email ois@uic.edu, and via UIC’s My Profile page. If your O-1 is pending at USCIS, print AR-11 or call 1-800-375-5283.

 

Travel and Visa Process

  • Schedule an appointment with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and complete Form DS-160 with fee. 
  • Review consulate/embassy website for guidance about required documents. We suggest bringing:
    • Passport (valid for six months beyond reentry date)
    • Original O-1 Approval Notice (Request to pick-up by contacting your advisor or email OIS@uic.edu)
    • Copy of Form I-129
    • Employment offer or recently dated sponsoring department letter
    • Copies of most recent earnings statements
    • Former J-1 Exchange Visitors: copies of all prior Forms DS-2019. If you were subject to the 212(e) 2-year home residency requirement, and you are no longer subject, bring your original I-612 Approval Notice or Advisory Opinion letter.
    • O-3s: In addition to the above, they should bring proof of marriage, or birth, when applying for a visa. If they are traveling independently from you, they should carry your original I-797 approval notice, or their own original O-3 I-797 approval notice, if they have one. 
    • Automatic Visa Revalidation exception: O-1s (and O-3s) may travel to Canada and Mexico with an expired visa for less than 30 days. Other exceptions may apply, see our website for details. 
    • See our Travel and Visas information for additional travel details.

 

Effect of Prior 212e

  • If you are subject to the two-year home country physical presence (212e), due to prior J status, you may not change status in the U.S. Similarly, you may not file for a green card, L-1 or H-1B status until you have waived or fulfilled the two-year requirement. 
  • You may fulfill the requirement by returning to your home country for an aggregate of two years or by obtaining a U.S. Department of State waiver. You may seek outside counsel for assistance.

 

Change of Employers

  • If you seek to change employers, your new employer must file a petition with USCIS. You may not begin work for the new employer until the O-1 petition is approved.

 

  • O-1 status allows for "dual intent," meaning that the filing of a Labor Certification Application and/or an immigrant petition will not be the basis for denying an O-1 petition, a request for an extension of stay, a change of status, or admission to the U.S. An O-1 extension cannot be filed once an I-485 Adjustment of Status for Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) petition has been filed. Please discuss any LPR filing with OIS in advance to avoid gaps in work authorization or difficulties traveling.
  • For more information, see our Use of Attorneys Policy and UIC Sponsorship of Permanent Immigrant Visas.
  • If you obtain a green card, please send a copy to OIS as soon as possible to close your OIS record.

 

Grace Periods

  • You have a 10-day grace period after the end date of your I-797 approval notice. You may not work during this period; it is time to prepare to leave the U.S., change status, etc.
  • DHS may, in its discretion, recognize up to a 60-day grace period (or until the end of the petition, whichever is shorter) per validity period, if employment ends before the petition end date.   

 

Departure

  • You must submit a Departure Verification Form upon completion of employment. This form is required regardless of your departure reason: leaving the U.S., changing employers, or changing immigration status.

 

Unlawful Presence

  • This occurs when you stay beyond the ending date of your I-94 or upon determination by Department of Homeland Security. Consequences include a 3-year bar from reentering the U.S. if you have stayed unlawfully in the U.S. for 180 days or more, and a 10-year bar if you remain unlawfully in the U.S. for 360 days or more. Violation of your O-1 status makes you ineligible for any immigration benefits. This does not apply if a timely, non-frivolous petition to extend your stay has been received by the USCIS prior to the end date of your I-94.