O1 Visa

I had a chat with a U.S. immigration lawyer to chat about my prospects for the O1 visa.

It was a free consultation through immigrantfirst.ai, founded by my friend Atal.

Apparently, I already have a good, albeit risky case for O1 if I was with Tesla right now under OPT.

Nonetheless, I have a second shot at this with my masters, and since I'm starting early now, I have the time to build and even stronger profile in my 3 years of OPT + STEM extension.

The O1 visa is an alternative to the H1B visa, that is valid for 3 years initially, but is eligible for unlimited renewals.

It has no quotas, no travel restrictions, and you can bring your family with you.

Specifically the O1-A visa is for people who have shown extraordinary abilities in fields such as business, athletics, education, and science, and based on an employment setup.

You have to satisfy the following 8 criteries:

  1. Critical role: You perform a crucial role at a respected company or startup.
  2. Memberships: You belong to a group that requires great achievements, as judged by experts.
  3. High remuneration: You receive a large salary or other substantial compensation.
  4. Awards: You have won national or global awards for excellence in your field.
  5. Press: Respected publications or major media outlets have published articles about you.
  6. Scholarly articles: You have written articles for important publications in your field.
  7. Original contributions: You have made important, new contributions to your field.
  8. Judging: You have judged the work of your peers individually or on a panel.

Some things I learned from the call

  • work with professors or mentors across industries and fields and try to get your name on things, this helps them recommend you for your work in different aspects and roles.
  • Connections is important! you need 5-7 support letters for O1
  • work on O1 application and submit in the second year of my OPT (it takes 4-6 months with non-premium processing)
  • H1B can be renewed while waiting for green card status (benefit of h1b)
  • H1B has a 6 year duration, while O1 has no limit as long as you're still displaying "extraordinary abilities"
  • EB2 NIW (National interest waiver) is a self-petition process for green card, which means you don't have to be tied to a company, and you could get it in 1-2 years
  • PERM application through a company for green card can take 3-4 years.
  • if you want to start your own company in the US, talk to DSO for approval, get e-verified, have a mentor sign off (professor or advisor), have a U.S. citizen cofound with you to handle documents



Blogs on O1

For EB1-A