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Dear Sophie: Is it more uncomplicated and sooner to compile an O-1A than an EB-1A?

Here’s one more edition of “Dear Sophie,” the recommendation column that answers immigration-connected questions about working at know-how companies.

“Your questions are a have to-have to the unfold of knowledge that permits folk everywhere in the sphere to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration criminal skilled. “Whether or no longer you’re in folk ops, a founder or trying for a job in Silicon Valley, I want to resolution your questions in my subsequent column.”

“Dear Sophie” columns are accessible for Extra Crunch subscribers; use promo code ALCORN to put off a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Dear Sophie:

Is it more uncomplicated and sooner to compile an O-1A exceptional ability visa than an EB-1A exceptional ability inexperienced card? What are the pros and cons of every?

—Prominent in Oakland

Dear Prominent:

Thanks so a lot for your timely questions regarding the exceptional ability visa and inexperienced card. The quick resolution to your first quiz is for certain, the O-1A visa will probably be more uncomplicated and sooner to compile than an EB-1A inexperienced card. If fact be told, I once helped a consumer compile an O-1A well-liked in three days — clearly, that became before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We nowadays launched “Unparalleled Means Bootcamp,” a brand unique, 15-module on-line direction that takes a deep dive into the O-1A exceptional ability nonimmigrant (quick) visa, the EB-1A exceptional ability inexperienced card, the EB-2 NIW (National Hobby Waiver for distinctive ability) and what it takes to file a successful utility in every category. Evaluate my podcast the place I focus on about the Bootcamp in extra part. Register for the Unparalleled Means Bootcamp and use code DEARSOPHIE for 20% off the enrollment charge.

On the total, the requirements for a inexperienced card, which enable its holder to are living permanently in the U.S., are extra stringent than those for nonimmigrant visas, which easiest enable a quick preserve in the U.S. And U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and products (USCIS) most frequently takes longer to project inexperienced card petitions than nonimmigrant visa petitions. Moreover, the U.S. imposes numerical and per-country caps on the need of inexperienced playing cards issued once a year, which methodology some inexperienced card categories for folks born in some worldwide locations, equivalent to India and China, face long waits. Easiest just a few visas maintain an annual cap (deal with the H-1B), but the O-1A visa is no longer one in all them.

That said, the EB-1A has one in all the shortest USCIS processing times, when put next with other employment-primarily primarily primarily based inexperienced playing cards. Also, EB-1A petitions are eligible for prime class processing, which requires USCIS to manufacture a resolution on a petition within 15 days (whether it is miles “calendar” days or “enterprise” days is currently in flux!). The I-140 petition will also be adjudicated rapidly in just a few weeks, but for somebody whose priority date is “contemporary” on the Visa Bulletin, the determining factor for the vogue long a inexperienced card takes is most frequently the I-485 processing time in the local subject place of labor. Lately that’s been taking about 1.5-2 years for interviews in the Bay Residence.

Meanwhile, nonimmigration visa petitions can face delays for a need of reasons, but a extend occurs most most frequently when USCIS responds to a petition with a Save a question to for Proof (RFE). An RFE is a written glimpse from USCIS trying for extra evidence to manufacture a resolution on a case. For the period of the past few years, the need of RFEs issued by USCIS for both visas and inexperienced playing cards has increased substantially.

Last month (September 2020) USCIS prolonged its protection of giving petitioners an extra 60 calendar days to respond to obvious USCIS notices, including RFEs, intent to deliver, revoke, rescind and end consequently of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. For any of these notices dated between March 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, a timely response will probably be belief to be 60 days after the date listed on the glimpse. Whether or no longer you might want to put off just appropriate thing about this time beyond regulation is a dialog to maintain alongside with your criminal skilled, primarily primarily primarily based on the strength of your pending petition and the urgency of getting an approval.

As you nearly no doubt know, the O-1A visa is for fogeys who maintain achieved nationwide or global acclaim and maintain risen to the discontinuance of their subject in the areas of science, education, enterprise or athletics. The EB-1A permits folk who maintain achieved substantial global or nationwide success of their subject consequently of their exceptional talent to are living permanently in the U.S.

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the O-1A and the EB-1A:


(Non permanent Protect)


(Permanent Station)


  • Much less difficult commonplace than EB-1A.
  • A swap of space will also be processed by USCIS in just a few weeks.
  • Eligible for prime class processing.
  • Limitless extensions that you are going to have the opportunity to imagine.
  • Does no longer require an LCA or PERM.
  • No annual cap.

  • That you’ll need the opportunity to imagine to self-petition with out an employer sponsor or job offer.
  • I-140 is eligible for prime class processing.
  • Inexperienced card: Lets you permanently live in the U.S.
  • Does no longer require an LCA or PERM.
  • Five years after inexperienced card can apply for citizenship.

  • Requires employer or agent sponsorship.
  • Requires job offer or itinerary of gigs.
  • Participants can no longer self-petition.
  • Could require union letter or advisory thought.
  • Now not a inexperienced card (permanent space).

  • Multiyear project.
  • High evidentiary commonplace.
  • Annual numerical and per-country caps exist.
  • Backlog for folks born in India and China.
  • Below a presidential proclamation issued in April, inexperienced playing cards no longer currently being issued at Consulates.

Protect in suggestions that deal with the EB-1, the EB-2 NIW (National Hobby Waiver) inexperienced card would not require an employer sponsor. On the opposite hand, the eligibility requirements for the EB-2 NIW are much less stringent than for the EB-1A. For folks born in India and China, the design back to the EB-2 NIW inexperienced card is that they face a a lot longer wait when put next with the EB-1A. No longer like the EB-1A, top class processing is no longer on the market for EB-2 NIW petitions.

Keep in mind, U.S. embassies and consulates are no longer processing inexperienced playing cards so you may maybe maybe mute try and apply for a inexperienced card whereas you live in applicable space in the U.S. In every other case, you may maybe maybe also simply have to method to and preserve to your condominium country for a whereas.

Still, getting a visa or inexperienced card in one more country remains that you are going to have the opportunity to imagine. I counsel working with an skilled immigration criminal skilled to focus on about which alternatives easiest match your accomplishments, targets and timing. Keep in mind, you’ll need the opportunity to be part of Bootcamp and use code DEARSOPHIE for 20% off the enrollment charge to compile licensed!

All my easiest,


Beget a quiz? Quiz it right here. We reserve the ethical to edit your submission for clarity and/or home. The suggestions supplied in “Dear Sophie” is general files and no longer applicable recommendation. For additional files on the obstacles of “Dear Sophie,” please gape our elephantine disclaimer right here. You might maybe contact Sophie at this time at Alcorn Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startups, is on the market on all critical podcast platforms. In the occasion you’d deal with to be a guest, she’s accepting positive aspects!

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