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What are the Overall Approval Rates of the O-1 Visa? If I Don’t Get Selected in the H-1B Visa Lottery, Can I Apply for the O-1 Visa?

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The latest statistics released by USCIS shows that while there has been an increase in the issuance of Request for Further Evidence (“RFE”) in recent years across the board for all visa types, the overall approval rates still remains relatively high for the O-1 visa for individuals of extraordinary ability. In 2019, the overall approval rate was 90.8%, and this trend has continued into 2020 so far, with the approval rate since the beginning of 2020 standing at 90.2%. These figures represent a very marginal shift down when compared to the overall approval rate five years ago in 2015, which stood at 92%. Similarly, RFE issuance numbers have gone up very marginally for the O-1, with RFE’s being issued in 26.4% of cases in 2019, compared to 24.9% of cases in 2015.

As the FY2021 H-1B Cap Registration fast approaches, and you will likely find out be the end of March whether you were selected through the lottery system, the O-1 may be an alternative solution for those who end up not getting selected in the lottery. To learn more about some of the key differences between the H-1B visa and O-1 visa, please click here. The O-1 visa petition is a very document intensive petition that requires advanced planning. As such, it is important to plan ahead and start preparing for the O-1 early on. To read further blogs about the O-1 visa, please click here.

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