O1 Visa for Entrepreneurs

Source: gouers.com

Many entrepreneurs come to the United States to launch their businesses. In fact, it’s a common misconception that you have to have a job or be an immigrant in order to start and run your business.

Yes, having a job is sometimes necessary when getting your startup off the ground and there are benefits associated with working in this country, but as long as you meet certain criteria, you’ll be able to launch an American based business without one.

The O1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to launch your business in the United States.

What is an O1 Visa?

Source: offshorecitizen.net

The O1 visa is for individuals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.

The O1 visa allows entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for up to 3 years and can be renewed within the 6-year period that your I-485 adjustment of status application is pending. If you have a job or have been in the U.S. for many years prior to starting your business, you still may be eligible for an O1 visa.

The O1 visa is not a green card and does not allow you to work inside or outside of your business in the United States. If you’re qualified for an O1 visa, you must be able to start and maintain your business entirely from outside the United States. If you are working inside your business, it is not considered to be a full-time position and you will not be eligible for an O1 visa.

For the O1 visa to be granted, the applicant must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, or business and that they are coming to the U.S. solely to work in a professional capacity (and not to study, invest or travel).

In order to apply for an O1 visa, you must first apply for and obtain an individual tax identification number. You will also need to send a cover letter with your resume/CV to the consular section that has jurisdiction over where you are located. The consulate will respond with instructions on how to proceed with your application.

Some of the documents you will have to submit include:

Source: novacredit.com

A cover letter and resume/CV (the content of the cover letter will vary depending on whether you are applying for the visa in your home country or at a U.S. consulate abroad).

A business plan if your business seeks outside investment or financing.

Evidence that you have received significant awards or prizes for achievements in your field (this does not include minor local awards) such as: Oscars, Grammys, Nobel’s and other major awards.

The O1 visa is intended to be a temporary, nonimmigrant visa.

An applicant who wishes to change their status may do so by filing an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Innocent spouse relief

If you are in the United States on any sort of visa and your spouse then commits immigration fraud, you may be eligible for innocent spouse relief and change your status to that of a legal permanent resident of the US.

Conviction Waivers

Certain types of convictions are eligible for a pardon or an exception.

There are five main ways in which an applicant can obtain permanent residency in the United States if he or she is the beneficiary of a petition filed by close family members. Those ways include:

  • A U.S citizen may petition for a sibling, spouse, parent, unmarried child under 21 years old, or adult son/daughter over 21 years old.
  • A U.S citizen may petition for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old.
  • A U.S citizen may petition for a spouse, widow/widower, or same-sex spouse with a green card who was married before the date the green card is approved.
  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) may petition his or her spouse, child (unmarried), or parent who is a lawful permanent resident. Additionally, a LPR may petition his or her spouse and their minor child (unmarried).
  • A lawful permanent resident may also petition an unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old.
  • A lawful permanent resident may also petition for his or her same-sex spouse with a green card who was married before the date the green card is approved.

If you are the beneficiary of a parent’s petition, you can file your own petition for permanent residency even if you are outside of the United States but not if the parent was already denied.

How to apply for O1 visa

Source: offshorecitizen.net

The first step to applying for an O1 visa is to determine whether or not you have a professional degree in the field of science, education, business or athletics. Next, prepare your I-140 application and the appropriate supporting documents (see tables below).

If you are outside of the U.S., you could complete an I-130 petition for yourself and have your spouse apply for an O1 visa at a U.S consulate. This visa requires that you demonstrate that:

You have the qualifications to become a permanent resident. You have been recognized internationally as having an extraordinary ability. You will be coming to the U.S. solely to work in your field of expertise.

If you are already in the U.S., you can apply for an O1 visa by submitting a valid I-140 petition and proof of your extraordinary ability as well as supporting documents proving that you are currently employed by a firm abroad (a letter from the employer is usually sufficient).

You should be aware that, if your spouse is in the U.S., you cannot use the I-130 petition to apply for an O1 visa. According to USCIS policy, spouses of LPRs currently residing in the U.S. who have not yet been issued a green card may not file an I-130 petition until they have received their permanent resident card and have been continuously admitted as lawful permanent residents with a biometric identification card for at least one year.

The consular officer will review each application on its own merits, taking into account the nature of the extraordinary ability and the applicant’s intention to remain in the U.S. either temporarily or permanently.

Conclusion

Source: onlinevisas.com

The O1 visa is a very specific and difficult to obtain work visa. An application for this type of visa may require an extensive amount of work, preparation and paperwork. A successful O1 Visa application will require the assistance of an expert immigration lawyer.

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