O1 Visa to Green Card: How to Apply and Step-by-Step Guide

O1 Visa to Green Card

Highly qualified people now have a way to stay and work in the US for extended periods thanks to the O1 visa. However, the fact that the O1 visa does not result in a green card is one of its primary drawbacks.

The O1 visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa. An O1 visa can be renewed indefinitely, but due to its permanent residence requirement, it cannot. I’ll go over several routes from an O1 visa to a green card in this guide. Continue reading!

O1 Visa to Green Card: Overview:

A non-immigrant visa category known as the O1 visa is only available to highly skilled individuals working in the sciences, arts, business, education, sports, or the film or television industries. There are two distinct categories for O1 visas: O1A and O1B. Professionals with exceptional talent in the sciences, business, athletics, or education are classified as O1A. Professionals working in the entertainment, film, or television industries are only eligible for the O1B classification. Depending on whether you are requesting an O1A or O1B visa, there are different requirements.

O1 Visa to Green Card: O1A

To qualify for an O1A visa, you will need to prove that you have such exceptional ability that you are among the select few who have reached the pinnacle of their field. Major honors or meeting at least three of the eight evidentiary requirements are two ways to demonstrate extraordinary ability.

O1 Visa to Green Card: O1B

You must prove that you have attained “distinction” to qualify for an O1B visa, which requires you to exhibit extraordinary ability. A person who is distinguished in the arts is renowned, leading, or well-known due to their exceptional achievement in the field, as demonstrated by their skill and recognition, which surpasses what is typically encountered. [Section 214.2(o)(3)(ii)] of the CFR

General Conditions for an O1 Visa

There are six primary prerequisites to obtaining an O1 visa:

  • You have to possess extraordinary talent.
  • You must have maintained your excellence in your field over time.
  • You have to be traveling to the US to work in your exceptionally talented field.
  • An employer or US agent must sponsor your O1 petition.
  • Your intended employment in the US must meet the requirements for what constitutes an “event.”
  • There are situations where you need to obtain an advisory opinion from a management organization, labor union, or peer group.

Which is preferable, O-1 or H-1B?

One distinct benefit of the H-1B visa is that it has far lower educational and threshold requirements than the O-1. A bachelor’s degree in the same specialty as the position for which the employer is hiring is required for the H-1B.

How to obtain a green card from an O1 visa

One type of non-immigrant visa is the O1 visa. Visa classifications for non-immigrants are transitory and do not inevitably result in permanent residency in the United States (a green card). You have to change your status from non-immigrant to immigrant to get an O1 visa and then a green card.

There are numerous categories for immigrants. A few of the many factors that determine an immigrant’s classification include marrying a US citizen, investing in a US business, receiving a job offer from a US company, and possessing exceptional abilities. Below, we will examine a number of these options:

O1 Visa to Green Card: The Procedure

Typically, obtaining a green card requires two steps in addition to an O1 visa. Obtaining the approval of an immigrant petition from USCIS is the first step. For many employment-based visa categories (EB1, EB2, EB3), for instance, you or your employer must submit a Form I-140 to USCIS.

Your spouse or other family member must file a Form I-130 with USCIS to apply for marriage and other family-based cases. You can proceed to step 2 after USCIS approves this underlying petition. Following the approval of the underlying petition with USCIS, you typically have two options: 1. Make a status adjustment; or 2. Apply for an immigrant visa

Modification of Status

The process of changing from a non-immigrant classification to an immigrant classification is known as an adjustment of status, or “adjusting.” Complete completion of the Form I-485 filing process with USCIS takes place within the country. The Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is another name for Form I-485.

You must be in the US lawfully and have non-immigrant status that meets the requirements to complete an adjustment of status. You will almost certainly complete an adjustment of status if you are already in the US on an O1 visa. This is so that there is no need to travel to an embassy or consulate abroad because the adjustment can be completed here in the US.

Important information

You can frequently file your Form I-485 and your underlying immigrant petition (Form I-130 or Form I-140) at the same time. It is possible to submit your Form I-485 (adjustment of status) along with the underlying immigrant petition at the same time. To put it another way, rather than waiting to hear back on the underlying immigrant petition first, you can often complete steps 1 and 2 simultaneously. The immigrant visa classification you are applying under must be current (i.e., a visa number must be available) for you to file concurrently.

Processing of Immigrant Visas

Processing an immigrant visa is an alternative to changing one’s status. The procedure of applying for an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate overseas is known as “visa processing” or “consular processing.” To do this, you must file a Form DS-260 with the Department of State after your underlying immigrant petition is accepted and a visa number is made available.

The Immigrant Visa Electronic Application is also known as the DS-260. Following the submission of the DS-260, you will attend a scheduled visa interview at a US consulate or embassy overseas. An embassy or consulate in your nation of origin is typically the location of the visa interview. After a successful interview, your passport will be stamped with an immigrant visa.

A dual-intent visa is the O1.

Strong links to a foreign residence are necessary for non-immigrant visa classifications such as B1/B2, which demand proof of non-immigrant intent. Due to its dual-intent nature, the O1 visa permits the goal of obtaining a green card. The dual purpose of the O1 visa permits status extension or renewal, notwithstanding the difficulties involved in submitting an immigrant petition to USCIS. For those who intend to convert from an O1 visa to a green card, this is especially crucial.


For those with exceptional talent in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics, there is an immigrant visa known as the EB1A. The process of converting an O1 visa to a green card is comparable to that of the O1 visa. By enabling self-petition, the EB1A visa removes the requirement for an employer to submit an immigrant petition to USCIS.

EB1A Qualifications:

To obtain an EB1A visa, you must meet three main requirements. You have to:

  • Possess exceptional talent in the fields of the arts, sciences, business, sports, or education.
  • Be arriving in the US to work in your exceptionally talented field
  • Demonstrate that you will bring the US significant benefits.

Demonstrating Outstanding Capability for EB1A:

If you want to get an EB1A visa, you have to prove that you have extraordinary ability by showcasing your success in a particular field. A significant international award or satisfying a minimum of three proof requirements can accomplish this.

Comparing EB1A and O1

While the requirements for the O1 and EB1A visas are similar, the USCIS has stricter guidelines for EB1A petitions. An individual may still not be granted an EB1A visa even after being granted an O1 visa. Unlike the O1 visa, the EB1A visa requires a significant benefit to the US.

Method of Converting an O1 to an EB1A

O1 and EB1A are both popular routes for obtaining a green card after obtaining an O1 visa, though there are some differences.For expediency, converting from O1 to EB1A necessitates submitting a Form I-140 to USCIS initially, followed by a Form I-485 submission after the I-140 authorization. It is also possible to combine these steps to file both forms at the same time.

In summary:

You now possess a far greater understanding of the O1 visa and how to turn it into a green card. An effective option for highly skilled workers is the O1 visa. An O1 visa allows a year of work in the US, after which it can be renewed or extended.

A green card cannot be obtained through the O1 visa alone, as it is a non-immigrant visa. You must change your immigration status to obtain a green card from an O1 visa. Some of the immigrant classifications to consider are the EB1A visa, the EB2 National Interest Waiver, and sponsorship by a US company.

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