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O-1 Status: Extension, Amendment, and Change of Employer

After you’ve been granted classification as an O-1 “Alien of Extraordinary Ability”, here are four things to keep in mind to maintain your O-1 status.

  1.  I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: The most recent I-94 is the controlling document regarding your status in the U.S. Each time you travel internationally, you will receive a new I-94 document when you re-enter the U.S. The I-94 will list your entry date, what status you were admitted under, and when your status will expire. You should be sure to promptly review your I-94 online each time you re-enter the U.S. after international travel. If there is an error on your I-94, such as a mistake on the listed status category or expiration date, you will need to contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection and obtain an I-94 correction as soon as possible.  
  2. O-1 Extension: The earliest your O-1 extension can be filed is 6 months before your status expiration. For example, if your O-1 status is valid until December 2020, this would mean that the earliest date the O-1 extension could be filed would be June 2020. It’s important to note that your existing O-1 status does not guarantee approval of the O-1 extension. Legalpad is here to help you prepare the strongest possible O-1 extension petition, and to make the process quick and easy!
  3.  O-1 Amendment: A “material” change to your role would require an O-1 amendment. If there is a substantial change in your job duties from the duties listed in the O-1 petition, or if you change from working full-time to part-time, you may require an O-1 amendment. For instance, if your O-1 was filed for the role of Data Scientist and you want to change roles to become a Finance Manager, it’s likely that the job duties between these roles are substantially different enough to constitute a material change that would require an O-1 amendment. Before you accept a new role, please feel free to reach out and we can help evaluate whether an O-1 amendment would be required.
  4. O-1 Change of Employer: You can only work for the company that sponsored your O-1. If you want to work for a different employer, your new employer will first need to file an O-1 change of employer petition on your behalf. You cannot start working for the new employer until the O-1 change of employer petition is approved. For example, if Company A sponsored your O-1 petition and you now want to work for Company B, Company B will need to file an O-1 change of employer petition. You cannot start working for Company B until you have the new O-1 approval.  

It is important for you to review your I-94 document each time you re-enter the U.S. after international travel. To maintain your O-1 status, you should also be aware of situations where you may require an O-1 extension, O-1 amendment, or an O-1 change of employer petition.

Feel free to reach out to Legalpad before changing your position or accepting a new job offer. We can determine the immigration impact and help you take appropriate action.