The O-1 Visa and ISA

August 15, 2019 by Prabalta Rijal

us visa faq

FAQ

Do I need an Employer to apply for the O-1 Visa?

Yes, you do. The O-1 Visa is an employment visa and ideally, it is the employer who files the petition on your behalf. You may also try to get an agency sponsorship 

Can I change my employer while I’m on an O-1 visa?

Yes, you can. However, if you decide to change an employer you will have to refile your O-1 visa petition if your new job/project was not disclosed previously in the O-1 petition.

What is an O-1 status?

The O-1 status is your authorized stay in the US. It means that you have been approved to live and work in the US. based on your extraordinary abilities. 
Your status can be approved but you still need to apply for the O-1 visa in the US embassy/ consulate.

Can I leave the United States after receiving the O-1 visa?

Yes, you can. There is no limit to the number of times you can leave or enter the US as long as you are on a valid O-1 visa. The validity period of your O-1 visa also depends on what country you are from. To get the visa stamped on your passport you must visit the U.S. embassy/consulate in your home country.
You may change status to O-1 when you are in the U.S. (given that you qualify as an O-1 alien) if you initially entered the country on a B-2 tourist or B-1 business visa and wait an appropriate amount of time to seek the change. Once you have your O-1 status approved, you will still have to go to the embassy and apply for the visa only then you will be able to travel in or out of the U.S.

How long does the O-1 Visa petition preparation process take?

The whole process can take up to four months but it usually takes two months to prepare a case and one month to receive the USCIS’ decision regarding the approval of the submitted case (this process can be reduced to 15 business days after paying a filing fee for the USCIS priority proceedings amounting to USD 1410).
Waiting time for having your visa interview appointment scheduled may vary depending on your country of origin.

How can I pay for the services?

There are two ways to finance the O-1 visa. You can either pay for the process on your own which will cost approximately USD 13,000 (the price may vary on a case by case basis) or enter into the Income Sharing Agreement. You would then be required to pay 17% of your salary for a period of 24 months, until you reach a cap of USD 30,000.

Will PassRight help me get a job after my O-1 Visa is approved?

We can support you with your job search, but you will have to be committed to the process and actively look for opportunities on your own, as well as attend interviews.
We have developed an internal platform specifically designed for the purpose of presenting our clients’ professional profiles to potential employers and recruiters.
At times we may submit your job application on your behalf, but under no circumstances will you be forced to accept an offer that you do not wish to take.

Can I bring my family to the U.S. on an O-1 Visa?

Your family can apply for an O-3 visa which will allow them to relocate with you. Your spouse or other dependents will not be permitted to work. However, while holding this status, they are not allowed to work. They are allowed to study or live in the US.

How long can I stay in the US, on an O-1 visa?

The O-1 visa can be approved for a maximum of three years at a time. It is possible to apply for unlimited extensions if you are able to provide additional evidence of upcoming events or future employment. However, the O-1 visa is not always granted for three years. If there is only one short event or project in which you are going to participate, the USCIS will approve your O-1 visa to cover only this time period.

What if I get the visa and I don’t go to the US?

If you have entered into the Income Sharing Agreement with us, and you have your visa granted but decide not to go to the US, you will be required to pay USD 10,000 for a breach of contract. You have to bear in mind that there is a team of professionals working on your petition, and the task of completing your case is both time-consuming and resource intensive. We invest a lot of energy to prepare a successful petition for you. 

Is the process legal?

Yes, it is. Our legal team comprises highly qualified and experienced immigration law advisers to ensure that all the cases we file meet the USCIS requirements. 
We always ask our prospective clients to schedule a call with our consultants so that they can discuss all their concerns related to the process. We also offer a free of charge evaluation based on which we can assess if a person is eligible for the O-1 visa. 

How does medical insurance work in the US?

Since you will be employed by a company, your health insurance will be sponsored by them. You will also be on a six-digit salary which means even if you choose to go for an individual plan, it will be well within your budget.

What kind of awards do I need to qualify for the O1 visa?

To qualify for the O-1 visa you will need to prove that you have won awards for your outstanding achievements in the field of your expertise. It should be an individual award in recognition for your accomplishments and extraordinary feats. The award should be given to you by a recognized body, either public or private, and should be related to the field/sector you are processing your application for. High school awards or the ones which have been given to a team you were only a member of – will not count.

Can I change the petitioner once I am granted an O-1 visa or do I have to reapply?

You will have to reapply. Even though you have an O-1 status, you still need to prove that you have maintained your level of acclaim in the field of your expertise, and you are sustaining a valid visa status in the US.

What criteria do I need to meet to apply for the O1 visa?

When applying for the O-1 visa there are several benchmarks you should have already set in your career, and therefore you are expected to meet the following criteria:
– Membership in associations requiring outstanding achievement for admittance
– Nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards
– Articles about you and your work in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media 
– Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other media
– A high salary or other remuneration – if you have been highly paid compared to others in your field
– Judging the work of others in the same or similar field of your classification
– Your critical or essential capacity when you have been employed by organizations that have a distinguished reputation

On the other hand, if you are applying as an extraordinary person in the fields of arts, motion pictures or televisionyou will have to meet the following factors:
– Performed and 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
– High Salary, Awards, Critical Reviews, Publications in major newspapers, journals, magazines, etc.
– Performed or will perform 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,
– Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which you are engaged, you will need recommendation letters from them.

Where is the PassRight office located? Where are you calling from?

Our offices are located in San Francisco and Houston. We have recently opened another office in Warsaw, Poland. Thanks to this, we can be now even more flexible in terms of hours during which we operate, and serve our clients.

How do I know this is not a scam? 

To be certain that this is not a scam you can always do a background check on the organization, yourself or through a third party before you decide to work with us.
We can also connect you with our clients who have already been granted their O-1 visas so that they can share their opinions with you.

What if I don’t get a job in the US?

You are a person with extraordinary abilities and there is a shortage of people with the skill set, knowledge and experience you possess, so the chances of you not getting a job are quite slim. Nevertheless, if you do not get a job and have applied for the visa on the basis of the Income Sharing Agreement, we will not expect you to pay back the ISA cap. 

What are the risks involved?

From your end, there are no risks involved as we will be financing the process for you. The only fee which you will be asked to incur in order to start drafting the petition for you amounts to USD 390. However, this fee will be returned to you, if your O-1 petition is denied.

What kind of costs do you cover?

We will initially cover the cost of your visa application and Government filing fees. After the approval of the visa, we might offer you additional financial options to cover costs which you may have when relocating. Once the visa is approved we offer additional financing for your relocation costs like flights, first months of rent, etc. 

Can I change the O1 visa to a green card?

Yes, you can. However, you will have to prove that you have been able to maintain your status of a person with extraordinary abilities, by providing evidence in support of your achievements and further progress you have made after moving to the US. Apart from this, you will also need to prove that you can bring about substantial benefits to the US in your field of expertise. 

Do I have to wait for my O1 visa to expire to apply for a green card?

You can apply for a green card before the O-1 expires.

For how long can I stay in my home country after getting the O1 visa?

Although there is no fixed duration as to how long you can stay in your home country, you need to understand that the earlier you get to the US, the better it is for you, as you can immediately begin with the job search. Also, the longer you stay in your home country after getting the visa, the more questions you may face during your time of entry, which means if you cannot give satisfactory answers to officers’ questions, there is a risk that you might be sent back home.

Should I be afraid of the visa interview?

No, you shouldn’t. We will help you prepare for the interview so that you can feel more at ease when you are in the US embassy. Remember that the officers just want to verify whether there is any kind of fraud involved or if you have violated any U.S. visas in the past.

I have heard that the O1 visa is for Nobel prize winners and Oscar winners, so how will I qualify for it

This is a common misconception, as the O1 visa is for anyone with extraordinary abilities which can be proven, and they can relate to almost any field. Very often, people get disheartened after reading the first two lines of a list covering the O-1 criteria. You have to remember that you don’t have to prove that you meet all of these criteria to be eligible for the O-1 visa.

Do I need to actively participate in the visa process?

We will need your active participation throughout the process. At the same time, we believe that if you are genuinely committed to the idea of starting a new career in the US, you will be truly engaged in the preparation of your petition. You will need to provide us with many documents and also have previous employers sign your recommendation letters.

If the O-1 visa gets approved is there a timeframe for getting the job?

Not necessarily. However, the ideal time for you to get a job would be within the first two months of your relocation to the US. We will help you with the job application and will even create a profile of you on our internal platform for potential employers to see, but under no circumstance will we force you or persuade you to work for a company, or in a position, you do not want to work in. We want you to find a job that suits you the best.

May I switch from an ISA agreement to the fixed fee structure based on success during the process? 

It is possible to change the agreement structure within 30 days. We will return you the fees that you have paid in case your visa gets denied.

Read also:

The Top 10 FAQs about Immigration during COVID-19

Which U.S Visa you are eligible for?

If you are interested in applying for the O-1Visa, contact us.