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Everything you need to know about O-1 Visa Extension

During your stay in the U.S, you have a limited time to complete your work or a project before reaching the end date of your visa. Under an O-1 visa, you can stay for up to three years, during which you can live and work in the U.S. However, the reality is that not everything always goes as planned, and you might end up having to stay in the U.S. longer than your visa period allows. If you need to stay longer, you should consider applying for an O-1 extension. 

Before you can even file for an O-1 visa extension, you must fulfill  a few prerequisite qualifications:

  • You were legally admitted into the U.S., and your O-1 status has not expired.
  • You have not violated the conditions of your admission or committed a crime that would cause your visa to be revoked.
  • You have a passport that is valid throughout your visit to the U.S.

After you have proven your eligibility for the O-1 visa extension, you can apply for your extension by:

  • Completing an I-129 form (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) for your visa extension.
  • Submitting a copy of your I-94 (arrival and departures record).
  • Providing a statement explaining why the extension is necessary.

Just like in the O-1 visa proceeding, Form I-129 needs to be filed by an employer who is petitioning in your case, and just like before, you need to show that you meet 3 out of 8 criteria for extraordinary ability. You will also need to provide a reasonable argument for the extension (such as an increase in the time necessary for the completion of the project you’re engaged in). 

You should be aware that you are not guaranteed an O-1 visa extension just by filling out the proper paperwork. Your I-129 form is subject to approval or denial by the USCIS, just like any other O-1 petition, so it is important to ensure that you provide extensive evidence for your eligibility. Because of that, it is essential to be realistic about the tasks that still need to be completed and why you, specifically, are required to achieve them. 

Moreover, even if you hold an O-1 visa and file for an extension with an I-129, your family members must also fill their own extensions with an I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status.

O-1 Visa Extension Timing and Processing Time

It is recommended that you do not file for it immediately after arriving in the U.S., as an O-1 extension is reserved for unexpected events. If the USCIS suspects that you were planning to file for an extension from the beginning, they may reject your form. However, you should not wait too long, either. The O-1 visa processing time can be lengthy, and if you wait too long, you may get too close to your I-94 date. Therefore, a golden rule is to take a look at the date you are scheduled to leave and be sure to file for an extension at least 45 days before your O-1 visa expires.

Just like in a case of a regular O-1 petition, your employer can submit Form I-129 along with Form I-907 to request premium processing for the application. However, it will require an additional fee of $2,500 and means that USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days. 

Once your application is approved, you will receive a new I-94 with an extended date of expiration. If your O-1 extension is denied, the USCIS will send you a denial notice. 

Traveling Abroad and O-1 Visa Extension 

You must be physically present in the United States when the extension petition is being filled. If you decide to travel abroad during the O-1 visa extension process, that may be counted as abandoning the extension request. 


O-1 category can be extended for a maximum of 1 year an unlimited number of times. However, each extension request must be supported by good evidence and an explanation of the reasons for your longer stay. The best way to ensure that your pieces of evidence consist of a solid and slam dunk case is to contact our consultant to handle the specifics. From analyzing the O-1 processing time to ensuring that your case is supported by the best evidence, a PassRight is invaluable to O-1 applicants. To get in touch, complete this contact form .


  • How many times can you extend your O-1 visa?

    There is no limit to the number of times you can file an extension request. Please remember that each time, you will need to pay the fees and provide an itinerary and explanation on why you need to extend your stay.
  • How long does it take to renew your O-1 visa?

    As for regular O-1 visa petitions, premium processing is available. This means that you can receive the decision as quickly as in 15 calendar days. Your stay will be extended automatically after your case is approved.
  • How long is an O-1 visa valid?

    O-1 is valid for a time period specified in your approval notice (I-797 notice). The maximum validity period is 3 years. If your employer provides the itinerary only for two years than your O-1 will be valid only for this period.
  • Is it difficult to get an O-1 visa?

    O-1 requires to show the “extraordinary ability” of the applicant, which automatically means that the standard for evaluation is quite high. However, with good strategy and guidance from experienced immigration specialists, even people relatively “fresh” in their field are able to get into this category. You can use contact form and schedule a consultation with our team to determine your chances.