The journey to O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

» Working on a job you love, and you will never feel like working anymore, but living the dream instead. » Working as design architect in The States is definitely a dream came true, especially in New York City – The Dream City that featured with world class architecture skyscrapers, amazing diversity cultures, experiencing fast-paced cities’ lifestyle, and much more! Firstly, I’m lucky enough to have such privilege to work in a renowned firm in Central Manhattan with the help of Architect-US with the support and sponsor of J-1 training Visa.

Time elapses, working on my passion – architecture career, which I didn’t notice it came so quickly to the end after a few months working with my host company. So I decided to extend my J-1 training period with Architect-US. Upon my visa expiry date was near, I had traveled to Germany to my prior university for submitting a post-master thesis topic to my professor. For applying J-1 extension, if I leaved the US, I have to get a new VISA stamping in a US embassy oversea. My J-1 extension was denied by the officer because J-1 is considered exchange visitor visa and have the rule that it must have strong ties with our home country and have an un-abandoned foreign residency.

So I quickly contacted with my Host Company and Patricia from Architect-US for explaining the situation. To continue the work in The States, there are only limited options left for me beside J-1, which is H1-B Visa and O-1 Visa. H1-B visa is the visa that reward to Specialty Occupation, with only 65,000 quota per year, with massive number of applicants around 200,000 applied for it annually, it will turned into a lottery system which the chance of getting it is around 30%, and yet the processing time is around 6 months before we can start work. So the H-1B time frame was not suit with my schedule with Host Company. After careful consideration and discussion, Architect-US and my boss decided to support me to the O-1 Visa, which has no quota restriction and fast processing time.

Specially thanks to Architect-US again, Patricia, for introducing me an O-1 visa expertise attorney to work on my case.

O-1 Visa considered one of the hardest to get because it stands for ‘Extraordinary Ability’ which the candidate has to be nationally and internationally acclaims in the field. It took me nearly 4 months to gather all the evidence (around 2000 pages +), basically everything about my professional experiences and outstanding achievements during my prior and present experiences in the field of endeavor, that included: publications, awards, multiple high profile projects that I worked on which has been featured in major media, press, supporting documents, online media features articles, 6-7 letter of testimonial from renowned professionals in the field to testify my remarkable contributions to the industry, advisory opinion from peer reviewed organization in The States,

After the submission of the O-1 submission, my petition was approved in 8 days with premium processing, ‘Hard Work Finally paid off’! I can’t believe I just did it at a very young age of 25, especially my attorney told me now a days many O-1 petition get RFE (request for further evidence) as the petition was not approved and may delay for months for submitting more document to proof they are qualified. I was really lucky and blessed because my case was approved at the very first time. After that just have attend a new interview in my own country US Embassy and make sure this time can answer all the question confidently and the Visa will be approve. It reminds me the tough journey I have been went through, but all the efforts and hard works will eventually returned to you in favor as reward. The lesson I been practiced is ‘Never give up’,

From beginning until the end, without Architect-US, there wouldn’t be me happened in The States because they basically the ultimate platform, and the main support behind everything of this, that accompanied me to went through this roller coaster liked of life experience .
There’s another continuous journey for me to pursue the Architecture Dreams in The States, the O-1 is not easy but it’s not impossible, so don’t give up and follow the passion!

Yi Jun Ooi

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