Life is getting a bit complicated, for workers on the other side of the H1B, the ones who are either preparing to apply the first time, or revisit their anxiety from three years before, on a renewal. The reason for cold sweats is understandable. There were 400,000 Labor Condition Applications in the first two quarters of 2017 itself.
Let us remind ourselves that these are the applications that are allowed to be filed in the six months prior to the beginning of employment. This pile is put to test for authenticity and goodness and finally a computer program decides the names of the final 65,000 applicants approved for an H1B under the Department of Labor.
Though there is an additional limit of 20,000, for applicants with an advanced degree, the reality is still in the realm of slim pickings.
H1B is not going to get any generous anytime soon. There are ongoing talks to make the policies, surrounding the visa, more stringent by increasing the basic salary for eligibility and applying stringent rules for companies to abide by, as far as hiring a foreign national is concerned.
Given the ever-choking nature of the popular work visa, it is probably wise to keep track of other avenues towards a visa that lets you work. For instance, there is the L1 visa for employees to transfer into the US under the same parent company.
Or the J1 visa for non-immigrant Exchange Visitors who are allowed to work and study based on certain prior approvals by the American and the domicile government of the exchanged individual.
Amidst a variety of other work visas, there is yet another which has the potential to take away some of the share of the visa load off the H1B pile. The O1, or the outstanding visa, is, as the name suggests, for outstanding individuals who are eligible to work in the US in the field they have managed to outshine in. While its preparation may seem a bit demanding, the processing time for O1 visa is surprisingly fast, opening up a window when the walls on H1B keep closing in.
So, in this article, we share some of the salient features you should know if you are looking to explore the other possibility of how to work in the US.
However, the cap is usually filled within the first few days of April, where employers file the I-129 petition, waiting for an approval, for the beneficiary to start working on October 1st. For an O1 visa, the form I-129 petition, for a non-immigrant worker, needs to be filed no more than 1 year before the start of the work date.
But, there is no cap, which is one of the major glaring differences between the two. So, unlike H1B, it can be filed all year long as long the eligibility criteria are met satisfactorily. However, it is advised that O1 visas are filed at least 45 days before the start date of employment.
And even with the renewal, you can at most claim another 3 years, after which you will need to visit your home country for at least one year to reset your H1B calendar. On the other hand, an O1 visa is valid for 3 years, after which it can be renewed yearly for as long as you have a valid employment.
Since much of the criteria, as you will find out, considers the outstanding nature of the non-immigrant worker, some experts claim that the O1 visa to green card process is easier. It is easier to apply to the Green Card EB-1 category, from an O1 visa, as compared to transitioning from H1B to EB-1.
The advantage being that EB-1 (for workers with outstanding accomplishments in science, business, education, and art), the processing times are far quicker than EB-2, the more common Green Card category among specialized workers with an advanced degree.
If you are a person extraordinaire´ in the field of arts, science, music, sports, business, and even the movie industry, you have a chance at nabbing the O1 visa. So, let us find what exactly defines your uber special status.
O1A Visa is for applicants who have extraordinary achievements in science, education, business and sports. O1B involves extraordinary people in the field of arts, motion picture, and the television industry.
The criteria, though subjective, outlines one major feature. The applicants need to demonstrate that they are among the top few percentage in their field. This includes the following, to be presented, at the time of application. Some of these are taken into account as the eligibility criteria for O1 visa.
For instance, in the case of most professionals with an advanced degree, USCIS usually requires letters of recommendations from established academicians and coworkers, with an exemplary record of their own. When neither of those are present, the USCUS will consider the past record of the applicant.
If you happen to change employers, while on O1, the new employer must petition separately. For further details, you are strongly advised to follow the USCIS website.
USCIS has way more details and also updated information which, from the looks of the current environment, is subject to changes at any time. While this particular visa is understandably more stringent in its eligibility, it still provides a Plan B for deserving recruits who have not made it through the luck by chance lottery system or the capped limit for advanced degree holders. It is always good to have options.
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