Your O-1 visa petition was approved by USCIS? Congratulations! The most difficult part of the O-1 visa process is over, and you are one step closer to living and working in the United States.
Next Steps After O-1 Approval
Your next steps after getting an O-1 approval depends on your location and the type of O-1 visa you filed. If you filed a Change of Status petition from within the U.S., you can begin working for your new employer on your O-1 start date. However, next time you travel internationally you will need to attend an O-1 stamping appointment at a U.S. consulate abroad.
If you filed an O-1 petition outside the U.S., or filed with Consular processing, you will need to visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to get your O1 visa stamp before traveling to the U.S.
O-1 Visa Stamping Guide
To enter U.S. on O-1 nonimmigrant visa status, you need a visa stamp in your passport. The only way to obtain a visa stamp is by visiting a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Generally, you can make an appointment directly with an embassy or consulate to get a visa stamp after your O-1 petition has been approved by USCIS.
Keep in mind that some U.S. consulates have significant appointment wait times. You can view estimated the wait times at each U.S. consulate on the Department of State's website. To set up an appointment, contact that consulate directly via phone or email.
Preparing for your visa stamping appointment
Before you go to your visa stamping appointment, you will need to fill out Form DS-160, the online visa processing form. The form needs to be completed for you and any dependents on O-3 visas.
Documents to bring to your visa appointment:
- Your passport and passports for any dependents
- A printed copy of your Online Visa Processing Forms
- Printed copies of the O-1 visa petition
- Notice of Action (Form I-797) approval notice
- Any other relevant documentation requested when you schedule your interview
Entering the U.S. on O-1 and O-3 status
If you want to travel on your O-1 visa after approval, you need to submit the following documents to USCIS upon your return to the U.S.:
- Supply a copy of your Notice of Action (Form I-797), which was the original notice of receipt you received from USCIS when your O-1 visa was initially approved.
- Show proof of a valid O-1 visa stamp in your passport.
- Supply a copy of your current employment letter, which proves your status as an O-1 work visa holder for your sponsoring employer.
- Show proof of a valid passport.
Things to keep in mind as an O-1 visa holder
The validity of your O-1 status remains intact until the “end validity date” marked on your I-94 card. Because the status of your O-1 visa is tied to your employment, if your employment is terminated, your O-1 status would be invalidated. If that happens, there is a 60-day grace period to find another employer or change to a different visa status. This provides time to figure out your next move. During this period, you will need to find another employer to sponsor a petition on your behalf - otherwise, you’ll need to leave the U.S. once your status expires.
Frequently asked questions
Can I apply for an O-1 visa at any U.S. embassy?
While most O-1 visa applicants apply in their home country, it is possible to attend an appointment in as a "third-country national" in a different country. Please note that each consulate has different rules relating to appointments for third-country nationals. Please contact a consulate directly to ask whether they take appointments for non-citizens.
Do Canadians need to get a visa stamp?
No. Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the U.S. They can enter at a U.S. port of entry with their O-1 approval notice and passport.
Getting approval for your O-1 visa is a big step, but it’s important to keep in mind that your immigration journey doesn’t end there. It’s always wise to understand what is required to maintain your visa status, as well as knowing what other opportunities are available to you with an approved O-1 work visa. No matter where you are in the process, we encourage you to reach out.
You can also visit our post-approval resource center for more information.