Although obtaining an O-1 visa is no small feat, the advantages are tremendous. One of the greatest advantages is that you are permitted to have dual intent when you have an O-1 visa. This means that you can intend to apply for permanent residency while in the United States on your O-1 visa. Not every visa is a dual intent visa. With an O-1 visa, your status will not be jeopardized if you decide to apply for a green card. There are some important steps you should take to change your status from an O-1 visa to a green card.
First, you should determine which green card is right for you. Because the requirements are similar to those of an O-1 visa, many choose to pursue the EB-1A for those with extraordinary achievement or the EB-1B for outstanding researchers and professors. Neither of these green cards requires a labor certification. In addition, the EB-1A does not require a job offer or sponsorship, which is a huge advantage. You will then be able to carry over your O-1 visa benefits. You can also pursue an EB-2 green card, but that will require a labor certification, a job offer, and a sponsorship.
Once you have decided which green card you would like to pursue, you will then need to submit an I-140 petition. Depending on your green card, either you or your employer can submit the petition. Your O-1 agent cannot petition for you. The date your petition is received by USCIS becomes your priority date. You will then need to keep up to date with the final action dates on the monthly visa bulletin. Once the final action date for your green card category and country matches up or passes your priority date, you will be given a visa number and can proceed to the next step.
You can then file an I-485 and the appropriate fees with USCIS. You can then have your status changed from O-1 to green card status. Depending on the circumstances and which green card you choose, the process can take anywhere from several years to a few months.
The stakes are high when you are applying for a green card on an O-1 visa, so you want to make sure you don’t make any errors during the process. An experienced immigration attorney can help you put together a complete petition and help you stay up to date with deadlines and the steps in the process. At Serving Immigrants, we have extensive experience helping green card applicants. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.