O-1 Extraordinary Ability

Those individuals appointed to a DOF employment rank may be eligible for the O-1 category.  This category is designated for those of extraordinatory ability, or individuals who have reached the top of their profession.  It requires extensive documentation to show that the applicant has sufficiently met the requirements.


The O-1 status is used for Dean of Faculty appointments such as: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Research Scholar, Associate Research Scholar, and Professional Specialist.  Those with outside fellowships/scholarships (even if paid through Princeton) are not eligible for O-1 status through Princeton.


O-1 petitions may be approved for the duration of an appointment for a maximum 3 years at a time. There is no maximum limit in O-1 status.  Contact your Davis IC advisor for information on time limits specific to your case.


It is important that you are aware of your responsibilities in maintaining your legal visa status during your stay in the U.S.  Failure to maintain your visa status could result in accrual of unlawful presence time and severe sanctions, including a loss of your legal status in the U.S.

O-1s are required to report a change of address to immigration within 10 days of obtaining an address or moving to a new address. Changes of address are reported to the USCIS by filing Form AR-11 on-line or by mail.

O-1s are only authorized to work for employers that have obtained approved O-1 petitions, and are only allowed to work under the terms and conditions of their approved O-1 petitions. If there are any material changes in the terms of employment (e.g., job duties, full-time to part-time, change of location) an amended O-1 petition may have to be filed. Please consult with the Davis IC if there will be changes to your employment situation.  O-1s are allowed to receive reimbursement for transportation and reasonable, incidental living expenses associated with activities considered to be incidental to employment at Princeton University (e.g., incidental lectures, attending a conference). You may not be paid a wage or salary or derive a monetary or other material gain from these types of activities. Honorarium is not allowed in O-1 status. 


O-1s seeking entry to the U.S. after travel abroad are required to present the I-797 O-1 approval notice and may be asked to present a copy of the I-129 petition. The Davis IC or its authorized representative gives these to you when your case is initially approved. If traveling outside the U.S., you must almost always have a valid visa to return to the U.S. Please confirm with your Davis IC advisor beforehand if you think your travel plans are an exception to this rule. If your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. You cannot extend your visa inside the U.S. There is no place/office in the U.S. to apply for a new visa. Be sure to check the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for the new visa as procedures at Consulates change over time. You should also carry documentation of your salary at Princeton (e.g.—a copy of appointment letter, pay statements).  You should be readmitted to the U.S. until the expiration date of the O-1 Approval Notice. Your I-94 information should note a corresponding end date. If you are admitted to the U.S. for a different period of time, you should report this to the Davis IC so that we can assist you in getting this corrected.  


Spouses and unmarried children up to the age of 21 qualify for O-3 dependent status. O-3s cannot work and cannot apply for work permission/employment authorization.


Applying for O-1 sponsorship is a time consuming process that usually requires 2-4 months through USCIS. Three of ten criteria must be documented extensively, and written advisory opinions from a peer group must be included. Once the Davis IC receives an approval notice, we send it the individual. If the individual is outside the U.S., the individual must make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The individual appears for the interview/appointment and the visa is issued. Some individuals will have to undergo additional security clearances before a visa can be issued.  These screenings may take weeks, or even months.


The Davis IC routinely notifies departments that the O-1 status of appointees is expiring about 5-6 months before the expiration date. This should give your department adequate time to process an appointment extension through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and for the Davis IC to extend your O-1 stay.