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O-1 Immigration Status

O-1 status may be an option for individuals (regardless of nationality) who have achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics or aliens who have who have demonstrated a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries. This bar is significantly higher than the bars for H-1B, TN or E-3 status.

The main benefit of O-1 status (as compared to H-1B status):

  • It provides an alternative employment status for individuals who do not qualify for H-1B, TN and/or E-3 status.
  • Individuals who are subject to the two-year home residency requirement (212(e)) based on previous participation in the J-1 program are eligible for O-1 status, provided the person can meet the other eligibility criteria for O-1 status

ISS reserves the right to refer any O-1 request to external immigration counsel.

Note: Those individuals who are subject to 212(e) are not eligible for a change of immigration status within the US. To obtain O-1 status, the foreign national will need to leave the US and apply for an O-1 visa at a US consulate or embassy first.