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O1 Visa Grace Period

What is the O1 Visa? 

The O1 visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrant foreign workers who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts, or athletics as well as extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. 

What is a Grace Period?

A grace period is a period of time before or after a visa is officially valid in which the visa holder may enter or remain in the United States without facing adverse consequences to their immigration status. Grace periods allow visa holders time to arrive in the United States and get settled for beginning employment, as well as time to prepare for their departure from the United States after the visa period has ended. 

Where Do I Find My O1 Visa’s End Date?

O1 visa holders will receive Form I-797, Notice of Action from the United States Citizenship and Immgiration Services (USCIS). Form I-797 shows the period of validity of the O1 visa, including the period of validity end date.

Does the O1 Visa Have a Grace Period?

Yes. The O1 visa has a grace period of 10 days prior to and 10 days following the period in which the visa is officially valid. 

Can an O1 Visa Holder Work During the Grace Period?

O1 visa holders may not engage in employment during the grace period before the visa becomes valid and during the grace period after the visa becomes invalid. O1 visa holders may only engage in employment during the visa’s validity period. 

How Long is the O1 Visa’s Period of Validity?

The O1 visa is valid for the length of time the USCIS determines is required to complete the event(s), but not to exceed three years. 

Can the O1 Visa’s Period of Validity Be Extended?

Yes. If the O1 visa holder needs more time to complete his or her event(s) beyond the initial validity period granted by the USCIS, the O1 visa holder can apply to extend the validity period by filing a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS. The USCIS can approve the extension for as much time as is needed for the O1 visa holder to complete the event(s), but for no longer than one (1) year. 

Can an O1 Visa Holder’s Stay be Extended?

Yes. O1 visa holders whose initial stay in the United States is for the full 3 years provided under the O1 visa may apply for an extension to their stay by filing a new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS. The USCIS can approve the extension for as much time as is needed for the O1 visa holder to complete the event(s), but for no longer than one (1) year. 

How Many Extensions Can an O1 Visa Holder Receive?

There is no limit on the number of extensions an O1 visa holder may receive. 

Does the O1 Visa Holder Have a Grace Period After an Extension?

Yes. O1 visa holders who receive an extension will be granted a 10 day grace period after the end of their period of extension. 

What if the O1 Visa Holder Loses His or Her Job?

O1 visa holders who lose or quit their job are permitted to stay in the United States for a grace period of up to 60 days or until the end of the validity period, whichever is shorter. It is at the USCIS’ discretion whether the 60 day grace period should be shortened or eliminated. The O1 visa holder may not work in the United States during this grace period without validly changing employers. 

What if I Fail to Leave the United States Before the End of the Grace Period?

Visa holders who stay in the United States beyond their grace period are deemed to be unlawfully present in the United States. Visa holders who are unlawfully present for 180 days or more could face a 3 year bar from reentering the United States. Those who are unlawfully present for 360 days or more may face a 10 year bar from reentering the United States.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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