This is a temporary employment status that is available to individuals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, arts, athletics or education. O-1 status is an excellent option for some persons subject to the J-1 two year foreign residence requirements and who are not eligible for H-1B (specialty worker). Those that are subject to the two-year home residency requirement prohibit such an individual from changing status to H-1B or to permanent residency unless a waiver is obtained or they return home for two years. The O-1 allows qualified individuals to work and stay in the U.S. even though they have not yet gotten a waiver of the two-year residency requirement.
Special Conditions of the O-1 Status
The initial period of stay is tied to the time necessary to provide for the event or activity for which the foreign national is admitted, up to three years. (8 CFR 214.2 (0) (6) (iii). Extensions may be granted in one-year increments.
The employer incurs an obligation to pay for the foreign national’s return home in the event that employment is terminated by the employer before the expiration of the O-1.
Basic Requirement for O-1 Status
To qualify for the O-1 status the University must show the foreign national has sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for his/her expertise in the field by providing evidence.
Work Permission while the O-1 is Pending
If the employee is not currently employed at Southeast Missouri State University, he/she cannot begin working until the O-1 has been approved by USCIS.
If the employee is currently legally employed at the university, but holds another nonimmigrant status, he/she may continue working as long as his/her current work permission is valid. When that status expires, so does the employee’s work permission. The employee must be removed from payroll until the O-1 is approved by USCIS.
If the employee is currently employed by the university and holds an O-1 visa he/she may continue working there while the extension is pending for up to 240 days after the original O-1 expires.