US. SUNLAWFIRM, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
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Tel: (310) 481-6118* Fax: (310) 481-6117*Web: www.sunlawfirm.us
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Registered with California State Bar 174845 (1994-Present)
Member of American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (1996-Present)
Attorney Alice H. Sun
O1 visa may help you when H1B visa is unavailable
Knowing the alternative working visa options is important in order to work
in the United States when H1B petition is not selected during lottery or
facing an H1B denial. In addition, many researchers have been in a
postdoctoral position in a university in the United States on a H1 academic
visa for the last few years, but now they are seeking a position in the
industry with higher wage. However, since the H1B quota usually used up for
a certain fiscal year, they cannot transfer their academic H1B visa to
industry H1B visa.
These researchers will need to pursue alternative working visa options such
as the O-1 visa. An O-1 visa allows an individual to be temporarily employed
in the U.S. This is also an alternative for those who are completing their
sixth year in H status and are exploring other nonimmigrant opportunities.
The O-1 visa is for an alien of extraordinary ability. The visa allows
foreign nationals with extraordinary ability working in the sciences, arts,
education, business, athletics, motion picture or television industry to
enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time.
The USCIS officials in reviewing O-1 petitions focus on whether the foreign
national is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of
the field of endeavor, and has received sustained national and international
acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise.
To qualify for O-1 status, the foreign national must satisfy at least three
(3) of the following criteria:
1. Original scientific contributions of major significance
2. Material published about the alien
3. Nationally/internationally recognized prizes, awards or distinctions
for excellence in his/her field
4. Evidence of service in a leading or critical role for distinguished
5. Evidence of having served as a judge of the work of others
6. High salary in comparison to others
7. Authorship of scholarly articles, abstracts or presentations
8. Membership in societies that demand outstanding achievement.
As you can notice from our previous article on EB1A, the requirements for O-
1 status are very similar to those of EB1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)
employment-based immigrant visa category. However, the review standard for
O-1 is currently much more reasonable than that of EB1A. Our law firm has
recently helped our clients obtain O-1 visas, for which the aliens have
citations ranging from 60 to about 1000.
Similar to H1-B, a U.S. employer has to sponsor the O-1 petition for the
alien, as self-petitioning is not an option. Unlike the H1-B visa category,
the O-1 petition does not require a Labor Certification Application (LCA)
and is not subject to any visa cap. Importantly, O-1 visa does not limit
the starting time of an employment. Therefore, with an approved O-1 visa, an
alien can start working immediately for the O-1 sponsor.
The following are samples of our recently approved O1 petitions:
1) O-1 visa approved for F-1 student: Beneficiary earned a Ph.D. degree in
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His position is Group Lead in the
field of machine learning applications, working for Petitioner, a private
small high-tech company for research and development. The approval was
based on our strong argument that his cutting-edge design and development of
advanced machine learning algorithms for sensing technologies has had a
major impact on the U.S. imaging camera industry. Among his achievements,
he had 17 publications with about 60 research citations, and reviewer
experiences (7 times).
2) O-1 visa approved for H1-B alien (change of status and employer): The
alien was an Assistant Researcher at a university. He received a job offer
to work as a Senior Research Scientist from a private medical lab and would
like to start the new position as soon as possible. The new position is in
the fields of prenatal test and cancer diagnosis, etc. Petitioner was a
private medical company specializes in genetic testing. We argued that the
alien made significant contributions in the clinical oncology, biomaterial,
and drug delivery technology, and his extensive experiences are important
to the research projects at the Petitioner and the U.S. healthcare industry
as a whole. Among documentary evidence, he had 40 research publications and
7 conference presentations. He also had peer-reviewer experiences (about
As reflected by our example of a successful O-1 case, the O-1 is focused
more on the alien’s professional achievements compared to the H1B criteria.
However, if the alien meets at least three of the O-1 criteria, and his/
her case is well prepared by our law firm, an O-1 should be a viable option
for highly skilled professionals.
For additional discussion of the O-1 category and other non-immigrant/
immigrant alternative options, please contact us and we will help you file
an O-1 petition or other pertinent alternatives. You may email us your
resume for a free initial evaluation, including the number of citations of
your publications, reviewer experience, and contact information, etc. to
[email protected] (Subject: Visa Application).
Our law firm has extensive experience for more than 24 years to help
postdoctoral researchers, professors, scientists, engineers, and other
professionals apply for nonimmigrant status in O1, H1B, and green card in
EB1A, EB1B and EB2NIW. For more information, you can visit our website at
Disclaimer： All information in this document is general information of
immigration laws and procedures for educational and advertising purpose. The
information does not constitute attorney legal advice. If your need
attorney legal advice, you must contact our law firm directly by email at
[email protected], or by phone at 310-481-6118.