The O-1 Visa as a Path to a Green Card in California

One of the most common questions that we receive at the Law Offices of Vaughan de Kirby is whether or not the O-1 visa for extraordinary ability can lead to a green card, permanent residency, and U.S. Citizenship. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The O-1 visa is a non-immigration visa. This means that there is not a direct path in place for O-1 visa holders to go on to receive a green card – O-1 visa holders can only work in the United States for three years at a time before applying for a renewal. 
  • HOWEVER, O-1 visa holders can have dual intention. This means that, unlike with some other non-immigration visas, O-1 visa holders may pursue permanent residency while living and working in the U.S. temporarily. Many O-1 visa holders also apply for a separate green card, which can take a much longer time to process than a non-immigration employment visa. 
  • O-1 visa holders can apply for a First Employment-Based Visa green card. This green card allows you to skip the complex labor certification process and avoid some of the worst issues that create visa application backlogs. 
  • Very simply, the O-1 visa can be a stepping-stone to a green card. While a green card is not part of the natural progression of an O-1 visa, a large number of O-1 visa holders have used an O-1 visa while on the path to permanent residency in the Untied States.

If you have an extraordinary talent or ability and would like to live and work in the United States, the O-1 visa may be the right choice for you. If you would like to achieve permanent residency in the United States, the O-1 visa may show you a clear path. To learn more about your immigration visa and non-immigration visa options, call our California visa attorneys today.

Vaughan de Kirby
California Immigration Attorney
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