O Visa Overview

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O-1 Extraordinary Ability (Science, Education, Business, or Athletics)

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

General Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction.  Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Application Process O-1 Visa

The petitioner should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, (see Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, link to the right) with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions.  The petition may not be filed more than one year before the actual need for the alien's services. To avoid delays, the Form I-129 should be filed at least 45 days before the date of employment.

The petitioner must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and the following documentary evidence:

Consultation

A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.

Exceptions to the Consultation Requirement:

If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist the decision will be based on the evidence of record.
A consultation may be waived for an alien with extraordinary ability in the field of arts if the alien seeks readmission to perform similar services within 2 years of the date of a previous consultation.  Petitioners should submit a waiver request and a copy of the previous consultation with the petition.

Contract between petitioner and beneficiary

A copy of any written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed.

NOTE:  USCIS will accept an oral contract, as evidenced by the summation of the elements of the oral agreement.  Such evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the contractual parties, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence which demonstrates that an oral agreement was created.

The summary of the terms of the oral agreement must contain: 

  • what was offered by the employer
  • what was accepted by the employee

The summary does not have to be signed by both parties to establish the oral agreement.  However, it must document the terms of the employment offered and that the beneficiary has agreed to the offer.

Itineraries

An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, if applicable (see the memorandum “Clarifying Guidance on “O” petition Validity Period” link to the right). The petitioner must establish that there are events or activities in the beneficiary’s field of extraordinary ability for the validity period requested, e.g. an itinerary for a tour or a series of events.

Agents 

A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

Please note that a petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for the other employers.  The required conditions can be found at the link to the right (see the memorandum “Requirements for Agents and Sponsors Filing as Petitioners for the O and P Visa Classifications”). 
Additionally, agents filing I-129 petitions for multiple employers must include with the petition:

  • Supporting documentation including a complete itinerary of the event or events which specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of the establishments, venues, or locations where the services will be performed
  • Contracts between the agent and the employers
  • Contracts between the actual employers and the beneficiary; and
  • An explanation of the terms and conditions of the employment with required documentation. 
    Once the visa petition is approved by USCIS, the beneficiary can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa.  Department of State (DOS) establishes visa application processing and issuance fees.  For more information on visa application processing and issuance fees, see the “Department of State, travel.state.gov” link to the right.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1A

Evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:  

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought
  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B

Evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:  

  • Performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed or will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).

Petition Document Requirements

A U.S. employer should file the I-129 petition with:

A written advisory opinion, describing the alien’s ability as follows:

  • If the petition is based on the alien's extraordinary ability in the arts, the consultation must be from a peer group (including labor organizations) in the alien's field of endeavor; or a person or persons designated by the group with expertise in the alien's area of ability.
  • If the petition is based on the alien's extraordinary achievements in the motion picture or television industry, separate consultations are required from a labor and a management organization with expertise in the alien's field of endeavor.
  • A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  • Evidence the alien has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award, or evidence of at least three of the following:
  • Performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements;
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the alien's achievements;
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence; or

If the above standards do not readily apply to the alien's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the alien's eligibility.

O-2 Support Personnel

The O-2 category applies to aliens accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. This person would be acting as an essential and integral part of the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 artist or athlete because he or she performs support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.

Application Process O-2

The petitioner must file a petition with USCIS for the O-2 visa.  The petitioner should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, (see the “Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker” link to the right) with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions.  An O-2 alien must be petitioned for in conjunction with the services of the O-1 artistic or athletic alien.  The petitioner may not file the Form I-129 more than one year before the O nonimmigrant will begin employment. To avoid delays, Form I-129 should be filed at least 45 days before the date of employment.

The petitioner must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker,  and the following documentary evidence:

Consultation

If the O-2 petition is for support of an individual with extraordinary ability in athletics or the arts, the consultation must be from the appropriate labor organization; or
If the O-2 petition is for support of an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved.

Exceptions to the Consultation Requirement:
If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist the decision will be based on the evidence of record.

Agents

See above for details on Agents.

Evidentiary Criteria for O-2

The evidence should establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 beneficiary and that the beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1.
In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence should establish that significant production has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.

Post-Petition Approval

Once the visa petition is approved for O-1/O-2 by USCIS, the beneficiary can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa.  Department of State (DOS) establishes visa application processing and issuance fees.  For more information on visa application processing and issuance fees, see the “Temporary Workers Visas Department of State” link to the right. 

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

Initial Period of Stay  

Extension of Stay

  Up to 3 years

  USCIS will determine time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity in increments of up to 1 year. 

As an O nonimmigrant, the beneficiary may be admitted to the United States for the validity period of the petition, plus a period of up to 10 days before the validity period begins and 10 days after the validity period ends.  The beneficiary may only engage in authorized employment during the validity period of the petition.

Extension of Stay

The petitioner must request an extension of stay to continue or complete the same event or activity by filing the following documentation with USCIS:

  • Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
  • A copy of the beneficiary’s Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record
  • A statement from the petitioner explaining the reasons for the extension

In order to assist USCIS in adjudication of your request for extension, the statement should describe the event or activity that was the basis for the original approval and confirm that the extension is needed in order for the beneficiary to continue or complete the same event or activity as described.

The beneficiary’s spouse and children must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and submit any supporting documents to extend their stay.
For more information see the “Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status” link to the right.

Family of O-1 and O-2 Visa Holders

Any accompanying or following to join spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for an O-3 nonimmigrant visa, subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the O-1/O-2 nonimmigrant.  They may not work in the United States under this classification, but they may engage in full or part time study on an O-3 visa.

Changing Employers

If you are an O-1 nonimmigrant in the United States and you want to change employers, then your new employer must file a Form I-129 with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions.
If the petition was filed by an agent, an amended petition must be filed with evidence relating to the new employer and a request for an extension of stay.

Material Change in Terms and Conditions of Employment

If there has been any material change in the terms and conditions of the beneficiary’s employment or the beneficiary’s eligibility, the petitioner must file an amended petition on Form I-129 with the Service Center where the original petition was filed.

Note: There are special rule for athletes. When professional athletes with O-1 nonimmigrant status are traded from one team to another, employment authorization will continue with the new team for 30 days during which time the new employer must file a new Form I-129. The simple act of filing the Form I-129, within this 30-day period, extends the employment authorization at least until the petition is adjudicated.  If the new employer does not file a new Form I-129 within 30 days of the trade, the athlete loses his or her employment authorization. The athlete also loses his or her employment authorization if the new Form I-129 is denied.

Return Transportation

If the employment of an O nonimmigrant beneficiary is terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation, the employer must pay for the reasonable cost of your return transportation to the O nonimmigrant’s last place of residence before entering into the United States. If an agent filed the petition for the employer, the agent and the employer are equally responsible for paying these costs.

Petition Document Requirements

The petition must be filed by a U.S. employer in conjunction with the filing of the O-1 alien petition and must be filed with:

A written advisory opinion.

  • If the O-2 petition is for an alien accompanying an O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the arts, the opinion must be from a labor organization with expertise in the skill area involved.
  • If the O-2 petition is for an alien accompanying an O-1 alien of extraordinary achievement in the field of motion picture or television, the opinion must be from a labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved.
  • Evidence of the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 alien with the O-1 alien, and that the alien has substantial experience utilizing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1. In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence shall establish that significant production has taken place outside the U.S., and will take place inside the U.S. and that the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.

O-3 Dependents

Spouses and minor children (dependents) of O-1’s are admitted under O-3 status with the same restrictions as the principal. They may not work in the U.S. under this classification.

Government Links

This section focuses on articles and reports related to O visa from government agencies such as the USCIS, DOS, DHS, CBP and ICE.

  1. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - Upon arrival (at an international airport, seaport or land border crossing), you will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program.
  2. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection internet site offers additional information on Admissions/Entry requirements.
  3. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)- In addition, some travelers will also need to register their entry into and their departure from the U.S. with the Special Registration program.

 

This content is tagged for employers and Human Resources professionals responsible for hiring foreign professionals/workers in USA

US Department of Labor is charged with protecting the labor market and investigation and enforcement activities related to that.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement. This agency used to be a part of old INS. When DHS was formed, enforcement personnel of US Customs Service and INS were combined to form ICE, which is now responsible for a large part of immigration enforcement activity.

Department of State (State Department) is responsible for issuing visas, which are a permission to travel to USA.

A method to obtain green card used to avoid the need for PERM based labor certification.

Customs and Border Protection. This agency was spun off from old INS. CBP is responsible for inspecting people when they land at airports, docks and land borders.

To qualify for an A-1 (or A-2 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government.  The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

To qualify for an A-2 (or A-1 visa), you must be traveling to the United States on behalf of your national government to engage solely in official activities for that government. The fact that there may be government interest or control in a given organization is not in itself the defining factor in determining if you qualify for an A visa; the particular duties or services that will be performed must be governmental in character or nature, as determined by the United States Department of State, in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. Government officials traveling to the United States to perform non-governmental functions of a commercial nature, or traveling as tourists, require some other appropriate visa, and do not qualify for A visas.

Consulates all over the world issue visas - a permission to enter USA for a specific purpose. Consulates are a part of the State Department (DOS - Department of State).

Bangladesh Immigration

Indonesia Immigration

I-94 aka Arrival Departure Record is what governs your status in the USA. An expired I-94 can lead to bar from entering USA for 3 to 10 years.See details on "Unlawful Presence".

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for being LEGALLY present in the USA

This is a complicated term. Very simply (there is a lot more to it), you could have your status expire and still be authorized to stay in USA awaiting the outcome of a legally filed petition. This is something less than "Status" but much better than "Unlawful Presence."

This is another complicated concept with some very serious consequences. Briefly, if you have been unlawfully present in USA for more than 180 days, you cannot come back to USA for 3 years and if unlawfully present for a year or more, you cannot come back for 10 years. Very generally speaking unlawful presence begins after expiration of the I-94 or after having been asked by the govt. to leave USA.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

These are topics related to appeals and motions for reconsideration or reopening of decisions (MTR) by govt. agencies such as USCIS, USDOL, etc.

Adjustment of Status

Includes topics of loss of physical green card papers or the card itself as well as loss of green card through abandonment and criminal activity.

When used in relation to immigration, this is another name for extending your status.

Employees working in USA

Personal employees, attendants and servants of A-1 and A-2 visa holders.

EB4 category is for religious workers.

“Priority Date” determines your place in the queue for waiting for green card in the categories where there is a wait. When the govt. has reached your PD, it is said to be “current.” For family-based green cards, PD is the date your I-130 was filed; for PERM-based cases, the date your PERM was filed; for employment-based cases other than through PERM (like EB-1 cases), PD is the date your I-140 was filed. DOS publishes the movement of the PD queue every month in the Visa Bulletin: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin

A publication of the US State Department that keeps track of the green card backlogs and informs us which "Priority Dates" are current so the applicants can expect to get through the last step of their green card processing. This is published every month around the 14th and tells us the availability for the following month. Note that certain categories of applicants ("immediate relatives") such as spouse of a US citizen are not shown in the visa bulletin because they are entitled to have their applications considered without any wait.

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Central Intelligence Agency

Department of Homeland Security

Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now reconstituted into USCIS)

Internal Revenue Service

Office of Management and Budget

Social Security Administration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Earlier known as INS. USCIS is responsible for providing immigration benefits to applicants. Homepage http://wwww.uscis.gov

American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.

Approval Date (When your application was approved)

Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications System

Assistant Field Office Director

Abbreviation for American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Adjudications Officer

Administrative Review

Application Support Center: offers biometric services including fingerprinting services

Birth Certificate

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (now USCIS)

Board of Immigrant Appeals

Biometrics (include Digital photo, index finger print and your digital signature). This is needed for the production of Green Card.

Customs and Border Protection

Central Intelligence Agency

Citizenship and Immigration Services

Consulate Officer

Consular Processing

Conditional Permanent Resident

Curricular Practical Training

Central Regional Office

California Service Center

Cancelled Without Prejudice

Deputy Field Office Director

Department of Homeland Security

Drivers License

Department of Motor Vehicles

Department of Justice

Department of Labor

Dallas Office Rapid Adjustment of Status

Department of State

Detention and Removal Operations

Diversity Visa (a.k.a. Green Card Lottery)

Eastern Application Center

Employment Authorization Document (I-765, approval to work while waiting for Adjustment of Status - AOS Approval)

Electronic Data Systems

Executive Office of Immigration Review

Expedited Removal

Eastern Regional Office

Entered Without Inspection

Foreign Affairs Manual

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Field Office Director

Finger Print

File Transfer Request

Green Card

Immigration Judge

International Marriage Brokers Act

Immigration and Nationality Act

Is an online appointment so you can go to your DO if you have a doubt or want to know something about your case in person or to request your interim EAD

Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called USCIS)

Immigration officer / Interviewing officer

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

Internal Revenue Service

Internet Service Provider

Immigrant Visa

Immigrant Visa Applicant Control System

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Kentucky Consular Center

Labor Condition Application

Lawful Permanent Resident

Lawful Permanent Resident Alien

Last Update Date on your on-line portfolio at USCIS website. It is the date when they last took action on your application, could be anything.

Machine Readable Data

Machine Readable Passport

Machine Readable Visa

Missouri Service Center

Notice Date (When USCIS notified you that they received your application)

National Data Entry Center

Non Immigrant Visa

Notice of Action is your receipt/letter that you received after you filed your forms (indicates I-797C)

Notice of Proposed Rule Making

Notice To Appear

Nebraska Service Center

National Visa Center

New York District Office

Office of Management and Budget

Optional Practical Training

Other Than Mexican

Police Clearance Certificate

Priority Date

Port of Entry

Permanent Resident (Also LPR - Legal Permanent Resident)

Quality Assurance

Receipt Date (When USCIS received your application)

Remote Adjudications Center

Request for Evidence

Request for Initial Evidence

Service Center (this is used with a prefix, eg CSC - California Service Center; MSC - Missouri Service Center, that is the address from where you will received your NOA (Notice of Action))

Supervisory Detention & Deportation Officer

Student Exchange Visitor Information System

Student and Exchange Visitor Program

Social Security Administration

Social Security Number

State Workforce Agency

When the UCSIS "Touches" your petition or file it means that an action was taken which required your file to be physically touched or moved. Example: Your file is touched when it is given to an adjudicator to process.

Temporary Protected Status

Texas Service Center

Transit Without Visa

US Citizen

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

System in airports that captures biometrics of people entering the country

Voluntary Return

Vermont Service Center

Visa Waiver Program

Western Application Center

Western Regional Office

Alien's Change of Address Form

NAFTA Professional visa

NAFTA Professional Dependant visa

Pre-Flight Inspection

PERM Processing: Program Electronic Review Management

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Interim EAD

Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card

Employment Eligibility Verification

Affidavit of Support

Application for Employment Authorization

Green Card

Application To Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

Welcome Notice

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Affidavit of Support

Application for Travel Document

Advance Parole or AP (Form I-131): The authorization to travel outside the US while your adjustment of status is pending. Note, Form I-131 is also used for Reentry Permit, an application by a US green card holder to be away from USA for over one year.

Administrative Appeals Office

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Under the prior rules, an F-1 student could be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies.

This is an abbreviation for test_term and can be deleted

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

AC21 is the name given to a law that provides for several matters including the ability to change jobs while an employment-based green card is pending (I-485 AC21 portability) and to start working for an H-1B employer as soon as transfer petition is filed with the USCIS.

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The process though which a person within USA obtains a change in their status to green card holder. This is usually the last step for (most not all) green card process.

Includes Zoologists, Botanists

Includes occupations in biochemistry, cytology, genetics, physiology

Fashion Models

Hotel management and related professions

An alternative to obtaining the last step in the green card through the consulates outside USA. This is an alternative to adjustment of status.

DOD (Department of Defense) project visas.

Includes CPA's CA's and all other accountants and auditors

Violence Against Women Act

Child Status Protection Act

Labor Condition Application. This is a part of some nonimmigrant visa applications process including H-1 visas. Not to be confused with "Labor Certification" also known as PERM, which is a part of the green card process. An LCA, or Labor Condition Application, is required to be submitted to and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as a part of an H-1B application. The LCA serves to ensure that U.S. wages will not be depressed by the hiring of the H-1B employee and that the H-1B worker will not be exploited. In the LCA, the employer guarantees that it will pay the H-1B worker the required wage, which is the greater of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other employees in the same position; that the H-1B employee will not displace a U.S. worker; and that the employment will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

Also known as CIS Ombudsman, this office provides recommendations for resolving individual and employer problems with the USCIS. As mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 § 452, CIS Ombudsman is an independent office that reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0482.shtm

PERM audits typically involve questions from the USDOL regarding the PERM filing.

Used mostly in the context of the last step in green card processing (Adjustment of Status), preadjudication means USCIS is proceeding to make decision on the file even though priority date is not yet current. The idea is that way when the PD gets current, all they need to do is send approval notice and then the green card. So if the AOS is preadjudicated, you still need to wait for the PD to become current.

Petition for a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence.

Vermont Service Center

California Service Center

Nebraska Service Center

Texas Service Center

Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) is one of the three adjudicative bodies within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). It has jurisdiction over three types of civil penalty cases: employer sanctions (INA § 274A - 8 USC § 1324a), unfair immigration-related employment practices (INA § 274B - 8 USC § 1324b), and immigration-related document fraud (INA § 274C - 8 USC § 1324c).

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals is an adjudicative agency that decides in appeal PERM and wage disputes.

Certifying Officer is the highest Department of Labor officer for a region. They are charged, amongst other things, with the responsibility to adjudicate PERM and LCA cases.

Fraud Detection and National Security. FDNS was created to strengthen the ability of the U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide the right benefit to the right person at the right time, and no benefit to the wrong person.

Citizenship in USA can be obtained through naturalization or through birth in USA.

The process through which a person becomes a US Citizen.

N-470 helps you preserve your stay abroad for naturalization under certain circumstances. So, even though you are living outside USA, you can accumulate that time for naturalization.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

Congressional Research Service. A "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events.

Missouri Service Center (MSC) was transitioned into the National Benefits Center (NBC). The NBC was established to serve as the hub and conduit for USCIS local field offices by completing all pre-interview processing of Forms generally requiring an interview. This pre-processing includes conducting background security checks, performing initial evidence reviews, adjudication of associated I-765 and I-131 applications (filed with the I-485 or separately), denial of adjustment of status cases for applicants who are statutorily ineligible, and forwarding scheduled cases to the USCIS local office for adjudication. In employment based cases, transfer to NBC usually means an interview can be expected. This can occur even if PD is retrogressed.

Online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application can only be used by visa applicants applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate which has converted to the new electronic fully online form and process. For more information visit travel.state.gov DS-160 informational webpage for a listing of embassy locations using Form DS-160. Next, visit one of the U.S. Embassy websites using the Form DS-160 and where you will apply, to review detailed nonimmigrant visa how-to-apply instructions, in addition to these FAQs.

1. Where can I find the DS-160?
You can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website or from the link on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

The mission of the Employment and Training Administration is to contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.

A form issued by school for applicants to obtain a Student Visa.

A form issued by school or sponsor for applicants to obtain a J Visa.

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In April of 1994, the Department of State opened a permanent Immigrant Visa processing facility at the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH. The NVC processes all approved immigrant visa petitions after they are received from Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (CIS) and retains them until the cases are ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad.

Every month, the Visa Office (VO) establishes Qualifying Dates that determine if a petition will be eligible for processing. Qualifying Dates are the latest priority dates that can be processed for certain visa categories. An immigrant visa petition can only become ready for further processing when the Qualifying Date in the appropriate visa category has advanced up to the priority date of the petition. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant.

NVC’s Role

The NVC is responsible for the collection of visa application fees and visa application documentation. When an applicant's priority date meets the most recent Qualifying Date, the NVC will contact the applicant and petitioner with instructions for submitting the appropriate processing fees. After the appropriate processing fees are paid, the NVC will again contact the applicant and petitioner to request that the necessary immigrant visa documentation be submitted to the NVC.

The U.S. Department of State's official site for U.S. visa information

InfoPass is an Internet-based system that enables the public to go online to schedule appointments with immigration information officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. If you have a complex immigration question or need that is best addressed by a trained USCIS officer in person, InfoPass offers a convenient alternative to waiting in line for assistance. InfoPass is a secure Internet site.

8 C.F.R. ง 214.3(l)(1)(ii):

(l) Designated official.

(1) Meaning of term Designated Official. As used in งง 214.1(b), 214.2(b),
214.2(f), 214.2(m), and 214.4, a Designated Official, Designated School
Official (DSO), or Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), means a
regularly employed member of the school administration whose office is
located at the school and whose compensation does not come from commissions
for recruitment of foreign students. An individual whose principal
obligation to the school is to recruit foreign students for compensation
does not qualify as a designated official. The PDSO and any other DSO must
be named by the president, owner, or head of a school or school system. The
PDSO and DSO may not delegate this designation to any other person.

(i) A PDSO and DSO must be either a citizen or lawful permanent resident of
the United States.

(ii) Each campus must have one PDSO. The PDSO is responsible for updating
SEVIS to reflect the addition or deletion of any DSO on his or her
associated campus. SEVP will use the PDSO as the point of contact on any
issues that relate to the school's compliance with the regulations, as well
as any system alerts generated by SEVIS. SEVP may also designate certain
functions in SEVIS for use by the PDSO only. The PDSO of the main campus is
the only DSO authorized to submit a Form I-17 for recertification. The PDSO
and DSO will share the same responsibilities in all other respects.

(iii) Each school may have up to 10 designated officials at any one time,
including the PDSO. In a multi-campus school, each campus may have up to 10
designated officials at any one time including a required PDSO. In a private
elementary or public or private secondary school system, however, the entire
school system is limited to 10 designated officials at any one time
including the PDSO.

The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is a fully integrated online application form that is used to collect the necessary application information from a person seeking a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel to the United States.

OFLC processes labor certification applications for employers seeking to bring foreign workers into the United States and grants certifications in those cases where employers can demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available, willing and qualified to perform the work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment.

Designated School Official is a school officer designated to work with students and act as a representative of USCIS/ICE in certain matters.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System www.ice.gov/sevis.

SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa), exchange visitors (J visa), and their dependents (F-2, M-2, and J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications via the Internet, to the ICE and Department of State (DOS) throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. The system will reflect international student or exchange visitor status changes, such as admission at Port of Entry (POE), change of address, change in program of study, and other details. SEVIS will also provide system alerts, event notifications, and basic reports to the end-user schools, programs, and Immigration related field offices.

SEVP acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on foreign students. SEVP helps the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State monitor school and exchange programs and F, M and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F and M visa categories, while the Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program.
SEVP uses the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based solution, to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents while approved to participate in the U.S. education system.
SEVP collects, maintains and provides the information so that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the Department of State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
For more details, please visit the link, http://www.ice.gov/sevis/

Introduction:

VIBE is a web-based adjudication tool used by USCIS to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ alien workers. VIBE uses commercially available data from an independent information provider (IIP) to validate basic information about companies petitioning to employ certain alien workers. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is the current IIP for this program.

This service is available to US based, privately held companies only. It is free of charge, and petitioning employers may access this process via D&B’s iUpdate for U.S. government customers -- a free, password-protected and encrypted online service tool offered by D&B.

Please note that USCIS does not expect or require petitioners to contact D&B or pay any fees associated with creating or updating an existing record. Employers who wish to update their information through D&B directly may be subject to direct marketing by the organization or encounter D&B representatives who may suggest a purchase of the firm’s products and services.

Purpose of VIBE:

The purpose behind VIBE is to increase the efficiency of the visa petitioning process by reducing the amount of documents employers have to submit with each petition in order to prove eligibility. Furthermore, USCIS will also be able to reduce the number of RFEs issued to otherwise eligible petitioners.

An important point to note is that USCIS will not deny a petition based solely on information from VIBE without at least first giving the petitioner an opportunity to respond to the RFEs or NOIDs issued by USCIS.

Please note that whether or not you choose to create a record or update your record with D&B, you must respond to any RFE or NOID received from USCIS. Failure to respond could result in the denial of your petition. Furthermore, it is necessary to resolve relevant inconsistencies in the information provided by the employer, on one hand, and information available on VIBE, on the other.

Employment Authorization Document. This is evidence that a person is authorized to work in USA. People undergoing Adjustment of Status (AOS or I-485 process) are entitled to an EAD.

Specific information related to our team and this site.

Deferred Action is consent by the Government not to deport (remove) an otherwise deport-able individual. Usually it is given for humanitarian reasons and work authorization is also provided. Unlawful presence is stopped during deferred action, but any unlawful presence already accrued does not get wiped away. Deferred action is not a visa or a full legal status.

Automatic Visa Revalidation - Definition from Travel.state.gov

Re-entering the U.S. with a Valid I-94 Form & Expired Visa is Limited
What Is Automatic Revalidation?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority and the responsibility over the admission of travelers to the U.S. Under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law, certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the U.S. may be admitted at a U.S. port of entry by CBP, if they meet certain requirements, including, but not limited to the following:

Nonimmigrants who departed the U.S. for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J nonimmigrants) for thirty days or less;
Nonimmigrants with a valid (unexpired) Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.

More Information about Automatic Revalidation

For more information about automatic revalidation provisions and reentry to the U.S., visit the International Visitors webpage and the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. Students and Exchange Visitors should review additional important information about travel outside the U.S. and reentry procedures on the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

Automatic revalidation is not the same as applying for a new visa. If you apply for a new nonimmigrant visa, you cannot take advantage of automatic revalidation.
Who Must Reapply for and Be Reissued a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate?

This webpage explains which travelers must reapply and be reissued visas when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, in order to gain admission to reenter the U.S.

Many nonimmigrants will need to reapply and be reissued visas to reenter the U.S. when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, because automatic revalidation applies to limited categories of travelers. Refer to the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website. The following temporary visitors whose nonimmigrant visas have expired, but who have valid I-94 forms, must reapply for and be issued nonimmigrant visas prior to their reentry to the U.S., if one or more of the following situations exists (this is not a complete listing):

The nonimmigrant traveler with an expired nonimmigrant visa (but valid Form I-94):

Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
Applied for a new visa and was denied;
Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism and FAQs on this website;
Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba;
Is in possession of an M student visa and has traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico.

Additional Resources – Laws

The automatic revalidation provision of U.S. immigration law is described in both 8 CFR 214.1(b) and 22 CFR 112(d).
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Visa denial based upon immigrant intent defined in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Immigrant intent becomes an issue when an applicant outside or inside USA seeks a benefit (such as a visa, when outside USA, or a change of status, when within USA) that does not allow an applicant to possess the intention of residing permanently in USA ("immigrant intent"). For example, an applicant for a visitor's visa must not have the intention to reside in USA permanently. Their visa can be refused if they have immigrant intent.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it intends to revoke (cancel) approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a pending case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is a notice the government issues when it plans to remove approval of a case that it has already approved. This happens when the government notices that the case either should not have been approved initially or, subsequent to the approval, has become revocable. This notice gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why the government should not revoke the approval.

NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny) is a notice the government issues when it intends to deny a case and gives us a last chance to present evidence and arguments why it should not be denied.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The term often refers to the Designated Degree program requiring a degree in one of these fields of study. STEM programs, in recognition of their importance to US interests, are awarded special consideration in certain areas under US immigration laws.

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

A Returning Resident Permit, or SB-1 Visa, is what a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR or Green Card holder) can get to return to the United States after being out of the country for more than one year. When an LPR leaves the United States, they must return within a year. If they stay more than a year, they must obtain a Returning Resident Permit in order to return. This also applies to those who remain outside of the country longer than is allowed by their reentry permit.
You apply for a returning residence visa through the consulate in your home country. There, you have to explain in quite some detail the genuine reason for your inability to return to USA within one year. It is discretionary upon the consulate whether they are convinced by the genuineness of your response or not.
For more information, see this State Department’s webpage: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1333.html

U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. Consists of two houses: Senate and the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the House of Representatives.

One of the two houses of U.S. Legislature responsible for making laws. The other is the Senate.

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