December 11, 2023

this is another version Advice column from “Ask Sophie” to answer immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are critical to the dissemination of knowledge that empowers people around the world to transcend borders and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re looking for a job in HR, a founder, or in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your question In my next column.

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Dear Sophie,

What do you think about applying directly for EB-1A instead of using O-1A first as a stepping stone?


— Escondido Extraordinary Engineer

Dear Extraordinary,

Yes, absolutely you can apply EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card No need to start with the O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa as a stepping stone! Allow me to provide you with some background information so you can consider whether this path is best for you.

In general, O-1A visa holders generally have an easier time obtaining EB-1A than those who are currently outside the United States or hold other types of immigration status in the United States, such as H-1B.To learn more about EB-1A requirements, please view my Extraordinary Abilities Bootcamp Podcast.

This is simply because the eligibility requirements for the O-1A and EB-1A overlap, and those who are ready for the O-1A visa have amassed a wealth of paperwork and letters of recommendation proving their success.

Vote for immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt in September 2023.

Image credits: technology crisis

However, I know from personal experience that many people can directly obtain an EB-1A green card while holding a visa other than the O-1A or even while outside the US.This means that EB-1A is for individuals who are currently working temporarily in the United States, such as E-2 Treaty Investor Visa E-3 Australian Professional Visa, H-1B professional occupation visa, L-1 international transfers and Tennessee (Treaty country) visas for professionals in Canada and Mexico.

Remember, if the visa you hold requires Nonimmigrant intent (such as F-1 or B-1/B-2), directly applying for EB-1A may hinder subsequent entry to the United States, because it is your burden to prove to immigration officials abroad at the time of entry that you intend to eventually return to your home country U.S. port of entry.Beginning of the green card process (specifically by self-filing I-140 in the EB-1A category) may be considered strong evidence migrant intention.

The Ultimate “Golden Ticket”

Because the EB-1A green card is the first priority employment-based green card, the wait time for this type of green card is usually the shortest compared to other employment-based green cards.

According to the visa announcement May 2023, the EB-1 category is currently the only one with green card numbers available in all countries except China and India. The U.S. Department of State oversees consular processing outside the United States, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates visa and green card applications and oversees the process inside the United States.The State Department reflected the Immigration Service.