Maintaining O-1 Status
Changes to O-1 employment
Reporting changes of home address to USCIS
Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S.
O-1 duration [top]
Initial petitions for O-1 status may not exceed 3 years. Subsequent O-1 extensions may be requested in 1-year increments. There are no specific limits on the duration of O-1 status.
It is extremely important to be aware of the period of authorized stay written on your I-94 card by the immigration inspector at the port of entry. If your I-94 expiration date will occur before your UH employment end date or your O-1 approval notice end date AND if UH has not filed an O-1 extension with USCIS on your behalf, your O-1 status will end on the I-94 date. As a result, you must leave the U.S. on or before the I-94 date to avoid accruing unlawful presence. If you are unsure about this issue, please consult with your UH department or with FSIS.
See Terms and Concepts for information on the functions of other immigration documents.
See Ending Your UH O-1 Employment or Status for information on completing your O-1 status or employment at UH.
O-1 extensions [top]
O-1 extensions can be granted by USCIS one year at a time. If you require an extension of O-1 status, your UH department should submit an O-1 request to the college/school/unit’s Administrative/Personnel Officer (AO/PO). The AO/PO will review the request, attach any necessary documents, and send the complete request to FSIS. FSIS will complete the O-1 petition and send it to the AO/PO along with a
memo regarding the payment of fees and proper USCIS mailing addresses.
- USCIS must receive properly filed O-1 extensions no later than the business day on or before your current O-1 end date. If USCIS receives the O-1 extension late, you will no longer be in valid status and will begin accruing unlawful presence. FSIS should therefore receive O-1 requests no later than 45 days prior to your O-1 end date.
- Be sure to inform your department about any family members who will require O-3 dependent status or extensions.
- UH can submit a petition to USCIS up to 1 year prior to the intended O-1 start date.
- Once the petition is sent to USCIS, adjudication through regular processing takes 2-3 months on average. Premium Processing Service is available for an additional fee – USCIS will act on the petition (i.e. approval, denial, or a request for additional evidence) within 15 calendar days of receipt.
If an O-1 extension is properly filed with USCIS BEFORE your current O-1 end date, you may continue working while the extension is pending for up to 240 days after the O-1 end date. The department may use a copy of the USCIS receipt notice to show employment eligibility during the 240-day period. Please note that issuance of USCIS receipt notices is often delayed. To ensure the
receipt notice arrives in time to continue UH employment, departments
should mail O-1 petitions to USCIS at least 3 weeks prior to the
extension start date.
You may not reenter the U.S. from abroad during this 240-day period. If the petition is denied during the 240-day period, you must stop working immediately and should leave the U.S. if you have no legal basis to remain in the U.S.
Your O-1 status will automatically continue upon the O-1 approval notice start date. You do not need to leave the U.S. to apply for an O-1 visa and reenter the U.S. to continue your O-1 period.
Changes to O-1 employment [top]
O-1 status is employer and job-specific. If you accept additional employment with another U.S. employer, that employer must submit an O-1 petition to USCIS requesting concurrent employment; you cannot begin working for the other employer if you only have O-1 authorization for UH employment.
If substantial changes to your current UH position occur, UH must file an amended petition with USCIS before the changes take place. Your UH department should notify FSIS immediately about impending substantial changes in the terms and conditions of your employment. Some examples of substantial employment changes include:
- Appointment to a new and very different position (e.g. changing from a researcher position to a professor position)
- Moving to a new work site
- Significant changes to your duties
At least 45 days BEFORE substantial changes to UH employment take place, your UH department should submit an O-1 request to FSIS so the changes can be reported to USCIS in a timely manner.
Reporting changes of home address to USCIS [top]
You and your O-3 dependents are required to report all changes of residential address to USCIS within 10 days of your move. The easiest way to report any changes is through the USCIS online change of address form. If you currently have an application pending at a USCIS Service Center, you should also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center (toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283) to report the change.
Please also remember to notify FSIS and your UH department about your new address.
Dual intent [top]
O-1 classification provides for dual intent. Unlike other nonimmigrant classifications (e.g. F-1, J-1), the filing of an immigrant petition or an approved permanent labor certification on the O-1 holder’s behalf cannot serve as a basis for a denial of entry to the U.S.
Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S. [top]
If you are planning to travel abroad, please notify your UH department at least 2 weeks before your departure date in case you need documents to be issued by your department or FSIS for your visa application.
NOTE: Most U.S.
embassies and consulates no longer require the I-797 approval notice or
a copy of the I-129 petition for visa interviews. However, you will
need your petition receipt number from the approval notice to schedule
an interview and to reenter the U.S. at a port of entry. See the U.S. Department of State website for more information on this topic.
Travel to Canada or Mexico
If you and/or your dependents are traveling only to Canada or Mexico, special travel and reentry procedures may apply. See Traveling to Canada or Mexico for more information.
Travel to a country other than Canada or Mexico
If you are traveling to a country other than Canada or Mexico OR if you are ineligible for automatic visa revalidation, you will need the following items to reenter the U.S. in O-1 status:
- Valid O-1 approval notice
- Valid O-1 visa in passport (N/A for Canadian passport-holders) (see the U.S. Department of State Embassy and Consulate website for visa application requirements and to make an appointment for a visa interview)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the O-1 approval notice end date (if your passport will expire before the O-1 approval notice end date, you will be granted a shorter period of stay than is printed on the approval notice, so it is best to renew your passport before you reenter)
- Employment confirmation letter from your UH department
If your O-3 dependents are traveling, each dependent will need the following items to reenter the U.S. in O-3 status:
- O-3 approval notice (if applicable) OR your O-1 approval notice
- Valid O-3 visa in passport (N/A for Canadian passport-holders) (see the U.S. Department of State Embassy and Consulate website for visa application requirements and to make an appointment for a visa interview)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the O-3/O-1 approval notice end date (if a passport will expire before the O-3/O-1 approval notice end date, that person will be granted a shorter period of stay than is printed on the approval notice, so it is best to renew the passport before reentry)
- Copy of marriage certificate (for O-3 spouse)
- Copy of birth certificate (for O-3 child)
- Employment confirmation letter from your UH department (to show financial support)
Please note that visas and/or approval notices will not guarantee entry to the U.S. The immigration inspector at the port of entry has the final discretion to admit you in O-1 status or your family members in O-3 status. The inspector will issue you and each family member an I-94 card which will note the period of authorized stay in O-1 or O-3 status.
Each time you and your dependents reenter the U.S., please provide the following items to FSIS so we can update our files and check that you were properly admitted to the U.S.:
- Top portion of the original O-1 approval notice (if borrowed)
- Copy of both sides of your new I-94 card
- Copy of new O-1 visa in your passport (if you obtained a new one)
- Copies of both sides of each O-3 dependent’s new I-94 card (if applicable)
- Copies of each dependent’s O-3 visa in passport (if applicable)
Traveling abroad while an O-1 extension is pending
You must be physically present in the U.S. at the time an extension of stay is filed, but you may travel abroad while the extension is pending. However, if you leave the U.S. while the extension is pending, it is very important to consider the following:
- If your prior approval notice will expire before you plan to reenter the U.S., you must remain abroad until the extension approval notice can be mailed to you by your UH department. You will need the extension approval notice for O-1 visa application (if applicable) and reentry to the U.S.
- If your prior approval notice will still be valid when you plan to reenter the U.S., and if the O-1 extension is not yet approved, you can apply for an O-1 visa (if necessary) and reenter using the prior approval notice. However, be aware that if your extension is approved just before you reenter the U.S. with your prior approval notice, your reentry with your prior approval, which may be considered the “last action” on your O-1 status, may have the effect of invalidating the extension. The result may be that you will need to leave the U.S. and reenter with your extension approval notice OR your UH department will need to immediately file an identical extension petition with USCIS.
Traveling abroad while a change of status to O-1 is pending
If UH is filing a petition on your behalf for a change of status to O-1 from another status (e.g. F-1, J-1), you should not leave the U.S. until the petition is approved by USCIS. If you leave the U.S. while the change of status petition is pending with USCIS, the change of status will be considered abandoned. If you know you will need to travel abroad while your petition is pending, be sure to notify your UH department and FSIS BEFORE the petition is sent to USCIS.