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O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement 

O-1 temporary workers possess extraordinary ability, are among the top 1–2% of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field, and are coming to the United States to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability on a temporary basis.  O-1 scholars must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim.

O-1 status is initially granted for up to 3 years. Extensions can be granted in 1-year increments, and technically there is no maximum length of stay. However, since O-1 is meant to be a temporary employment status, we recommend consulting with VIS if extending beyond 6 years.

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Initiating an O-1 Request

Step 1: Confirm the Prospective Employee has an Empl ID
  • Confirm the prospective employee has an Empl ID (Stony Brook ID#) in PeopleSoft.  If creating the ID, allow 24-hours for the profile to be updated in accessVIS before initiating the request.
  • Employee’s date of birth and citizenship (must indicate “Alien Temporary”) are correct in PeopleSoft - incorrect information will affect the employee’s ability to login.
  • Confirm the employee’s email is up-to-date in PeopleSoft. 
Step 2: Prepare Required Documents for Upload

In order to submit the Immigration Counsel Referral Request successfully, you will need scanned copies of the following documents. Documents uploaded in accessVIS must be in PDF format. Files exceeding 100MB must be compressed before uploading to avoid an error message.

  • Letter of Offer/Employment Contract
  • Description of proposed duties (i.e. personnel requisition)
Step 3: Initiate the Immigration Counsel Referral Request

Submit the Immigration Counsel Referral request form in accessVIS so we can begin the process of collecting the initial information required for the referral.  Upon submission of this form, an email will be sent to the Dean (or equivalent) of your unit to certify their acknowledgment of the College/Division's willingness to comply with the conditions noted in the Labor Condition Application.

Step 4: Employee Biographical Information

Upon submission of the Immigration Counsel Referral request form in accessVIS, the employee will receive an email prompting them to submit their portion of the request in accessVIS. Once the employee has submitted the Employee Biographical Information eform, VIS will request for the employee to be screened against Deemed Export Controls.

The request process for hiring an international employee in O-1 status remains a paper-based request.  Please  contact VIS  if you wish to submit such a request.

Initial Review by Visa and Immigration Services (VIS)

Upon submission of all required forms the department will be notified and the request will be assigned to an International Scholar and Faculty Advisor for review. Please allow 5-7 business days for review. Should the advisor have any questions, they will contact you directly.

Once the application is completed and referred, the employee will receive communication directly from the SUNY Immigration Counsel firm. 


O-1 Legal & Application Fees

SUNY Approved Immigration Counsel (Harris Beach) charges a $3,750 legal  fee  for O-1 processing, plus the USCIS  fee  of $460 required for all O-1 petitions. There may be an additional government filing  fee  of $2,500 for premium processing, if the case is filed by premium.  These  fees  could be paid either fully or partially by the employee if desired.

In the event a request for evidence (RFE) is issued, or additional services are required, departments will first be notified of any additional legal  fees .