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News:

FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at signen@hawaii.edu if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin


Maintaining O-1 Compliance



O-1 duration

O-1 extensions

Changes to O-1 employment

Reporting changes of home address to USCIS

Dual intent

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.

Period of authorized stay

It is extremely important to be aware of the period of authorized stay on an O-1 employee's I-94 record or admission stamp. If the I-94/admission stamp expiration date will occur before the UH employment end date or the O-1 approval notice end date AND if UH has not filed an O-1 extension petition with USCIS, O-1 status will end on the I-94/admission stamp date. As a result, the person must leave the U.S. on or before this date to avoid accruing unlawful presence. Please consult with FSIS if there are any uncertainties about this issue.

See Terms and Concepts for information on the functions of other immigration documents.

See Ending O-1 Employment or Status for information on completing an employee's O-1 status or employment at UH.



O-1 extensions [top]

If an extension of O-1 employment is required, the UH department must 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.

Deadline to submit requests to FSIS

The AO/PO should submit the O-1 extension request to FSIS no later than 45 days prior to the O-1 end date. USCIS must receive a properly filed O-1 extension petition by the business day on or before the current O-1 end date. If USCIS receives the O-1 extension petition late, the employee will no longer be in valid status and will begin accruing unlawful presence.

O-3 dependents

UH departments should ask the O-1 employee whether he/she has any family members who will require O-3 dependent status or extensions.

Petition duration & timing of filing

O-1 extensions can be granted in increments of up to one year at a time. UH can submit O-1 petitions to USCIS up to 1 year prior to the current O-1 end date.

USCIS receipt

If an O-1 extension is properly filed with USCIS before the O-1 end date, the employee 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.

The O-1 employee may not reenter the U.S. from abroad during this 240-day period. If the extension is denied during the 240-day period, he/she must stop working immediately and should leave the U.S. if there is no way for him/her to legally remain in the U.S.

Issuance of USCIS receipt notices is often delayed. The department should plan ahead so the petition can be mailed to USCIS at least 3 weeks prior to the O-1 end date to ensure the extension receipt notice arrives in time. The USCIS receipt notice, rather than the courier’s delivery confirmation, should be used to show employment eligibility. Even if delivery was timely, USCIS may later reject the petition. Rejected petitions are not considered “filed” with USCIS.

USCIS processing time

  • Regular Processing: Takes 2-4 months on average.
  • Premium Processing: USCIS will act on the petition (i.e. approval, denial, or a request for more evidence) within 15 calendar days of receipt. This service is available for an additional fee.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

USCIS approval

O-1 status will automatically continue upon approval of the O-1 extension petition. The employee does not need to leave the U.S. to apply for an O-1 visa to continue O-1 employment.



Changes to O-1 employment [top]

O-1 approval is specific to the employer that filed the petition and covers only the particular position for which the petition was filed. 

New O-1 employer

If an O-1 employee accepts additional employment from another U.S. employer while he/she is employed by UH, the other employer must file an O-1 petition with USCIS to request concurrent O-1 approval for him/her. Likewise, if the O-1 is leaving UH to work for another U.S. employer, that employer must submit an O-1 petition to USCIS requesting a change of employer. In both cases, the O-1 cannot begin working for the other employer if he/she only has O-1 authorization for UH employment and if the other employer has not yet received approval of an O-1 petition filed on his/her behalf.

Changes to current UH employment

If substantial changes to the UH position occur, UH must receive approval of an amended petition with USCIS before the changes take place. The UH department should notify FSIS immediately about impending substantial changes in the terms and conditions of O-1 employment. Some examples of substantial employment changes include:

  • Changing from full-time to part-time or vice versa (e.g. 50% FTE to 100% FTE)
  • Appointment to a position with a new title (e.g. Junior Researcher to Assistant Researcher)
  • Moving to or adding a new work site
  • Significant changes to duties (e.g. taking on teaching)

Deadline to submit amendment requests to FSIS

The AO/PO should submit an O-1 amendment request to FSIS no later than 45 days prior to the effective date of the changes. Changes to O-1 employment cannot take place until USCIS approves an O-1 amendment petition.

O-3 dependents

Departments should ask the O-1 employee whether he/she has any family members who will require O-3 dependent status or extensions.

Petition duration & timing of filing

If an extension is being sought with the amendment, the department can request up to 1 year at a time. UH can submit O-1 petitions to USCIS up to 1 year prior to the effective date of the changes that will take place.

USCIS receipt

USCIS will issue a receipt notice once the O-1 petition is filed, but the changes to employment may not become effective until the petition is approved. FSIS will forward a copy of the receipt to the UH department.

USCIS processing time

  • Regular Processing: Takes 2-4 months on average.
  • Premium Processing: USCIS will act on the petition (i.e. approval, denial, or a request for more evidence) within 15 calendar days of receipt. This service is available for an additional fee.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

USCIS approval

The changes to employment may occur on the start date of the O-1 approval notice. O-1 status will automatically continue upon approval of the O-1 petition.
The employee does not need to leave the U.S. to apply for an O-1 visa to continue O-1 employment.



Reporting changes of home address to USCIS [top]

An O-1 employee and any O-3 dependents are required to report all changes of residential address to USCIS within 10 days of moving. The easiest way to report any changes is through the USCIS online change of address form. If they currently have an application pending at a USCIS Service Center, they should also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center (toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283) to report the change.

Please notify FSIS anytime an O-1 employee moves to a 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 an O-1 employee is traveling abroad, please notify FSIS at least 2 weeks before the departure date in case he/she needs documents to be issued by the department or FSIS for the 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, the O-1 will need the 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 an O-1 and/or his/her O-3 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 an O-1 is traveling to a country other than Canada or Mexico OR if he/she is ineligible for automatic visa revalidation, he/she will need the following items to reenter the U.S. in O-1 status:

  • Copy of valid O-1 approval notice
  • Valid O-1 entry visa in passport (N/A for Canadian passport-holders) (see the U.S. embassies and consulates 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 a passport will expire before the 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)
  • Employment confirmation letter from UH department

If 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 copy of O-1 approval notice
  • Valid O-3 entry visa in passport (N/A for Canadian passport-holders) (see the U.S. embassies and consulates 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 each O-3 child
  • Employment confirmation letter from UH department

Admission at a U.S. port of entry

Visas and/or approval notices will not guarantee entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review all immigration documents and ask questions about the planned stay in the U.S. These officers have the discretion to admit employees in O-1 status and family members in O-3 status and may refer them to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When admitted into the U.S., the O-1 and O-3 family members should have their documents returned to them. They should each receive an admission date stamp with the notations “O-1” (principal O-1 worker) or “O-3” (dependents) and a date indicating the period they are authorized to remain in the U.S. in their passports. They also should receive instructions on printing their own I-94 arrival record on CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a paper I-94 may be issued at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If any person is issued a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

O-1 employees and O-3 family members should keep copies of all approval notices, passport biodata/expiration pages, visas, admission stamps, and I-94 records permanently in case any of the documents are lost or stolen.

Each time an O-1 employee and/or O-3 dependents reenter the U.S., please provide the following items to FSIS so we can update our files and check that they were properly admitted to the U.S.:

  1. Top portion of the original O-1 approval notice (if borrowed)
  2. Copy of I-94 card or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  3. Copy of admission stamp with notations in passport
  4. Copy of O entry visa in passport (if applicable)
  5. Copy of passport biodata and expiration page (if new/renewed)
  6. Copies of #2-5 for each O-3 dependent (if applicable)

Traveling abroad while an O-1 extension is pending

An O-1 employee must be physically present in the U.S. at the time an extension of stay is filed, but he/she may travel abroad while the extension is pending. However, if he/she leaves the U.S. while the extension is pending, it is very important to consider the following:

  • If the prior O-1 approval notice will expire before the planned U.S. reentry date, he/she must remain abroad until the extension approval notice can be sent to him/her by the UH department. He/she will need the extension approval notice for O-1 visa application (if applicable) and reentry to the U.S.
  • If the prior O-1 approval notice will still be valid on the planned U.S. reentry date and if the O-1 extension is not yet approved, he/she can apply for an O-1 visa (if necessary) and reenter using the prior approval notice. However, be aware that if the O-1 extension is approved just before reentry with the prior approval notice, such reentry will be considered the “last action” on O-1 status, which will invalidate the approved extension. As a result, the employee's O-1 status end date will revert to the prior approval notice's end date. To remedy this, he/she will need to leave the U.S. and reenter with the O-1 extension approval notice for the extension to take effect.

Traveling abroad while a change of status to O-1 is pending

If UH has filed a petition for a change of status to O-1 from another status (e.g. F-1, J-1), the O-1 beneficiary should not leave the U.S. until the petition is approved by USCIS. If he/she leaves the U.S. while the change of status petition is pending with USCIS, the change of status will be abandoned. Departments should notify FSIS about any plans to travel abroad before the petition is sent to USCIS.


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