Suppose you’re a research scholar or professor working in the United States under a non-immigrant J-1 visa, but you’re considering switching to an O-1 visa. Is that even possible?
A J-1 holder who is subject to the two-year home requirement and unable to obtain a waiver, is a good candidate for an O-1 visa. Likewise, if you didn’t enter the U.S. for graduate medical training, or if you entered the U.S. under a different J category, or if you’ve received a waiver, you can change your visa status to an O-1 in the U.S. However, those of you who came to the U.S. for graduate medical training are not necessarily ineligible. If you have an employer, they can submit a petition to the USCIS on your behalf. If you’re petition is approved, you will then have to travel back to your country of origin and apply for a U.S. visa stamp at the U.S. embassy. Then, you are free to re-enter the U.S. immediately without completing a two-year home residency requirement or obtaining a waiver.
What are some benefits of switching from J-1 to O-1? Remember that unlike the H-1B visa, there are no annual caps with an O-1 visa for annual admittance. Additionally, there is no maximum stay period under an O-1 visa status. The initial period of stay can be approved for the time necessary to complete a project or activity for which the nonimmigrant is admitted up to three years. Extensions can be granted in one year increments to complete the activity.
Are you here in the U.S. under a J-1 visa and thinking about switching to an O-1? Give Creative Artist International a call at (323) 210-8051 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.