Login / Signup


O1 Visa Grace Periods: Understanding Your Options and Obligations

Updated on March 21, 2024

The O1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in their field to work in the United States. While the O1 visa provides a valuable opportunity for talented professionals, it’s essential to understand the grace periods associated with this visa category. In this blog post, we’ll explore O1 visa grace periods, including what they are, how they work, and what you need to know to maintain your legal status in the United States.

30 Second Recap:

O1 visa holders may be eligible for a 10-day grace period after their authorized stay expires and a 60-day grace period after their employment is terminated. During these grace periods, individuals are not authorized to work but may engage in activities related to finding new employment, changing visa status, or preparing for departure. To maintain legal status, it’s crucial to take proactive steps and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance on navigating O1 visa grace periods.

What are O1 Visa Grace Periods?

A grace period is a specified amount of time during which an individual can legally remain in the United States after their nonimmigrant visa status has expired or been terminated. For O1 visa holders, there are two types of grace periods:

  1. 10-day grace period: This grace period allows O1 visa holders to stay in the United States for up to 10 days after their authorized period of stay has expired. This grace period is intended to provide individuals with time to prepare for their departure from the country.
  2. 60-day grace period: This grace period allows O1 visa holders to stay in the United States for up to 60 days after their employment has been terminated by their sponsoring employer. This grace period is intended to provide individuals with time to find new employment, change their visa status, or prepare for their departure from the country.

It’s important to note that these grace periods are discretionary and not guaranteed. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have the authority to deny entry or shorten grace periods on a case-by-case basis.

How Do O1 Visa Grace Periods Work?

  1. 10-day grace period: The 10-day grace period begins on the day after your authorized period of stay expires, as indicated on your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. During this grace period, you are not authorized to work or engage in any other activities that would require O1 visa status.
  2. 60-day grace period: The 60-day grace period begins on the day after your employment is terminated by your sponsoring employer. To qualify for this grace period, your termination must be based on factors beyond your control, such as layoffs, downsizing, or the end of a project. During this grace period, you are not authorized to work but may engage in activities related to finding new employment or changing your visa status.

What Should You Do During an O1 Visa Grace Period?

If you find yourself in an O1 visa grace period, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to maintain your legal status in the United States. Some options to consider include:

  1. Find new O1 employment: If your employment has been terminated, you may use the 60-day grace period to find a new employer willing to sponsor your O1 visa.
  2. Change your visa status: If you are eligible for another nonimmigrant visa category or have a pending green card application, you may use the grace period to change your visa status.
  3. Prepare for departure: If you are unable to find new employment or change your visa status, use the grace period to make arrangements for your departure from the United States.

It’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Final Thoughts

Understanding O1 visa grace periods is crucial for maintaining your legal status in the United States. Whether you are facing the expiration of your authorized stay or the termination of your employment, it’s important to take proactive steps to find new employment, change your visa status, or prepare for departure. By staying informed and seeking guidance from an immigration attorney, you can navigate the complexities of O1 visa grace periods and make informed decisions about your future in the United States.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist