What is O-1
The O-1 visa is used for individuals who are recognized as having sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics (O-1A), and arts (O-1B).
The O-1 visa is used for individuals who are recognized as having sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics (O-1A), and arts (O-1B), and individuals of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industries (also O-1B). This visa classification permits an employer to petition for an individual to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis to work within her/his area of extraordinary ability or achievement.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines extraordinary ability as a “level of expertise indicating that the person is one of a small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” To qualify as an individual of extraordinary ability or achievement, a foreign national must show evidence of receipt of a major internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize or an Academy Award or evidence of at least three items from the list of evidentiary criteria for O-1A or for O-1B.
How to Get O-1
Scholar Services will gladly answer any questions that you may have about O-1 status, however, all requests for O-1 status sponsorship must originate from the NYU hiring department at least 3-6 months prior to the desired appointment start date.
All requests for O-1 status sponsorship must originate from the NYU hiring department at least 3-6 months prior to the desired appointment start date. Please contact your department liaison, who will then communicate the request to Scholar Services.
O-1 petitions may be filed via premium processing. Premium Processing grants an adjudication in 15 calendar days unless USCIS issues a request for evidence (RFE). If an RFE is issued, the case review "clock" stops and once the additional evidence is submitted, it restarts again from the beginning. If neither an adjudication nor an RFE is received within 15 calendar days, USCIS is required to refund the filing fee. Premium Processing may be requested at the time of filing or after the case is already pending.
If you are outside the U.S., you must either already have a valid O-1 visa stamp, or obtain one at a U.S. embassy/consulate overseas in order to enter the U.S. in O-1 status to work at NYU. Visas are issued only by United States consulates and embassies outside the U.S.
To apply for your O-1 visa you should submit the following supporting documentation:
- The original Form I-797 (Approval Notice from USCIS),
- Copies of:
- The NYU I-129 O-1 petition
- The NYU letter of appointment
- Valid passport
- Any other documents instructed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the United States. However, they must present documentation to the officer at the United States port of entry. Required documentation will include, but is not limited to:
- the original approval notice (Form I-797)
- a copy of the entire O-1 petition filed on the scholar’s behalf
- a passport with at least six months validity
Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Department of State/ US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ultimately provides the decision on your visa application/US entry. You must be accurate and truthful in your application. Be aware that any information you withhold from your application, or inaccurate information you accidentally or intentionally include in your application, could result in a visa denial or a denial of entry. This information also includes your social media presence.
Traveling to the US
Make sure you have the appropriate entry documents with you prior to arriving in the United States. Please review the OGS Travel Information page for complete details.
How to Stay Legal While in O-1
These are six things to look out for to ensure legal status on the O-1.
1. Make sure your immigration documents are valid and unexpired:
- A passport valid at least six months into the future
- I-94 admission record for O-1 status
- Upon U.S. entry, you should get your I-94 admission record online, which will show the date by which you must exit the U.S. after your employment ends. As long as your I-94 end date has not passed and you remain in the position at NYU (and/or with any other authorized employers), you will be in O-1 status. If there are any concerns about the information on the I-94, you should contact Scholar Services to discuss.
- I-797 Approval Notice (from the petition filed with USCIS)
- An O-1 visa is needed for travel and re-entry into the U.S. However, an O-1 visa may be expired while remaining in the U.S.
2. Update your local address within 10 days of a move
- All non-immigrants are required to notify USCIS within 10 days of a change of residential address by completing Form AR-11 online.
- Please also notify Scholar Services of your updated address by e-mailing email@example.com.
3. Notify Scholar Services of early departure
- If you will be leaving NYU prior to the original end date, please notify Scholar Services via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include your name, visa type, original and new end date, and reason for early departure in the message.
- Note: If you not have O-1 status with another employer or if you do not have any other status, you must depart the U.S. immediately after the last day of NYU employment.
4. Notify Scholar Services of substantial changes in NYU employment
- Your permission to work at NYU in O-1 status is based on the terms and conditions presented in the O-1 petition filed with USCIS. Accordingly, you should not accept any changes in the terms of employment (other than a standard salary increase) without first consulting Scholar Services.
5. Do not accept unauthorized employment
- Before accepting employment with another employer, O-1 scholars are advised to verify whether or not that employer must also file an O-1 petition for them (concurrent O-1) with USCIS. O-1 scholars who have an attorney-filed O-1 for an agent or artist’s representative, should not assume that another employer was included in that petition.
- Conversely, if you are already in O-1 visa status, please connect with OGS before commencing employment with NYU so we can ensure the O-1 is appropriately annotated, either by us or an attorney.
6. Contact Scholar Services if your O-1 status needs to be extended
- If your appointment at NYU will be extended and you still require O-1 status, administrator about requesting an extension from Scholar Services 2-3 months in advance of your current end date.
- O-1 employees may continue working for up to 240 days beyond the current O-1 end date if an extension petition was filed in a timely manner.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of the principal O-1 visa holder can enter the U.S. in O-3 status. O-3 dependents are not permitted to work in the U.S., however they may study.
Any dependent seeking O-3 status can apply for an O-3 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad by submitting your original I-797 O-1 Approval Notice from USCIS (or her/his own original I-797 O-3 Approval Notice from USCIS, if applicable), as well as her/his:
- Financial documentation that verify how they will be financially supported in the U.S.
- Proof of relationship to you ( marriage certificate or birth certificate)
All new scholars should register with Scholar Services upon arrival or approval of a change of status.
REGISTER WITH SCHOLAR SERVICES
A registration form is included with the visa documents sent to you. If you are entering from outside the United States, we request you attach a copy of your visa stamp and I-94 entry/exit document, which can be accessed from the US Customs and Border Control website. Upon registration, you also have the option of joining the International Scholars Network Email List which enables you to connect with other international scholars at NYU. Don't forget to register!