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How many years can I stay in the U.S. on O-1 visa? Does O-1 visa lead to a green card? For which green card should I apply if I am in the U.S. on an O-1 visa?

By May 29, 2020May 20th, 2021Extraordinary Ability, Immigration
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The immigration regulations state that O-1 visa holder can come to the U.S. to perform services relating to an event/events and the O-1 visa will be granted for a period of time necessary to accomplish the particular event or activity (but not exceeding 3 years).

If you are granted an O-1 visa initially for 3 years, you may then either file an extension (you would get one additional year) or try to get renewal O-1 petition for 3 years (See our blog post discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each approach when you click here). There is no limit in the regulations as to how many times you could file an O-1 extension/renewal for 3 years, and you could potentially renew your O-1 visa indefinitely.

Many of our clients think that if they have O-1 visa for couple years, they can automatically get a green card. Unfortunately that is not correct. You could qualify for a green card, but you would have to meet the requirements of the particular green card category and you would not get the green card automatically.

You/your employer could sponsor you for the following green card:

  • EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green card: you could either file a self-petition (meaning that you do not have to have an employment offer), or your employed could sponsor you as well. The advantage of the EB-1A green card is that you/the employer do not have to obtain a Labor Condition Certification from the Department of Labor, and therefore the process of obtaining this green card is faster than obtaining the EB-2/EB-3 green card.
  • EB-2 Green card
  • EB-3 Green card

For both the EB-2 and EB-3 green card, you would need a job offer from a U.S. employer and you would also have to obtain a Labor Condition Certification from the Department of Labor before the green card application is filed.

Please see our blog post discussing the similarities and differences between the O-1A visa and EB-1A green card when you click here.

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