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Can I Change My Nonimmigrant Status to O-1 After Green Card Application

Hi William,

I am currently working in the U.S. under H-1B status. My employer has already begun the Labor Certification process on my behalf as the first step of Green Card Application, making my intent to immigrate clear. Can I change my status from H-1B to O-1 because of the H-1B visa limit of 6 years?


The H-1B status can apply for change of status to an O-1 visa, without any risk of denial based on the demonstrated intent to immigrate, since both O-1and H-1B visas allow for dual intent on the part of alien applicants.

The H-1B visa and L-1 visas allow dual intent, although for a set maximum duration. The usual duration of an H-1B worker’s stay in the U.S. is limited to six years, while an L-1A visa is initially granted for a period of one to three years, and can be extended in two-year increments until the total stay reaches seven years.

In contrast, there is no maximum period for O-1 status, it can theoretically be indefinite. For O-1 visas the length of the status is determined by the length of time needed for the alien to perform his duties or activities with the petitioner employer, but the period of stay may be extended indefinitely if the necessary qualifications can be met. Thus, O-1 status can present a viable way to maintain stable legal status in the U.S. and continue working, while waiting for the outcome of an immigration petition.

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