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.