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The Difference between O-1 Visa and EB1 Extraordinary Ability Application

Hi William,

What is difference between O-1 visa and EB1-Extraordinary Ability application? and what is difference between O-1 and other employment related nonimmigrant status, such as H-1B?


The requirements for O-1 visa or status are similar to those for the EB1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A), employment based permanent residence category. The difference is that the O-1 visa applies to those aliens seeking a non-immigrant status, while the EB-1A standard is for those seeking permanent immigrant status.

The application processes are also quite different. The application process for the O-1A visa includes the sponsor and/or applicant filing a form I-129 petition with the USCIS. Applicants can expect to wait several months for a decision unless they file by premium processing.  In such cases, they will receive a response in 15 days.  Once all requirements have been met, the O1-A visa can be issued for up to three years.

The EB-1A goes through the same process as other employment green card applications except there is no filing of a labor certification application with the Department of Labor attesting that there are no available U.S. workers with the requirements for the position (PERM).  Due to delays at the Department of Labor not having to go through this process can save over a year of wait times for the green card. 

The O-1 visa is distinguished from other employment related statuses in that it applies to more types of work than other areas. For instance, H-1B status is limited to foreign professionals with at least a bachelor's degree for a specialty occupation, which cannot apply to alien artists, athletes or entertainers without such educational background. However, such as artists, athletes or entertainers can apply for O-1 visa/status. Moreover, the requirements of O-1 are much higher than that of H-1B. Also, O-1 visa/status could be obtained by those in H-1B status who have exhausted the full-authorized stay of 6 years.

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