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Filed: O-1 Visa Country: Israel

Hello everybody! So I thought I'd share some insights from the renewal process of my recent approved O-1B petition under the new administration and recent USCIS change in policies. 


In 2016, I have had my first O-1B approved as you can see in the signature below. The process was very smooth and from the day my sponsor sent the petition to USCIS until I got my visa in hand, it took about 4 months.


My 3 years visa has expired recently and it was time to renew it; I chose to renew it for only 1 year with my current sponsor instead of looking for a new one and get 3 years. My personal plan is also to aim for the EB-1 once it becomes current for worldwide. 


Anyways, we filed the extension in a very timely manner, 4.5 months before my current status expires. Back then the current processing time on USCIS website was between 2 weeks to 2.5 months, so we were quite in the clear; however, about 3 months later we haven't received any update so we decided to upgrade to Premium Processing. 5 days after upgrading we have received a Request For Evidence which didn't make sense at first why they would do that for an already approved O-1B holder extending for only 1 year. And here comes the thing.


We got the RFE which was 9 pages long. My sponsor submitted only new evidence from the past 3 years and didn't include anything from before, as they thought because it's just an extension so simply to show that I have worked in my field and a statement from the company will be sufficient. Well, it wasn't. USCIS now says that prior approval DOES NOT play a role in the adjudicating process of extension. They wrote that sometimes, approvals might be a mistake of the then-adjudication officer and the beneficiary must show eligibility as it was an original submission, even though it's just an extension.


So we filed everything that we had from the old petition and the new one, and sent it along. 13 Days later we got the approval notice.


So my take here is that under the current administration and changes in inside policies, submit EVERYTHING you have if you plan to extend your stay as an O-1 in the US. Laws may not change per se, but policies do.


Hope this helps! 

O1B - Initial 3 Years

3/4/16: I-129 Form sent to USCIS - VSC

3/8/16: I-129 Form received by USCIS

3/12/16: NOA1 notification received

4/19/16: Premium Processing Request was sent to USCIS -VSC

4/22/16: Premium Processing Request was received by USCIS

4/28/16: I-129 Form was Approved by USCIS

4/29/16 Approval Notice was emailed

5/6/16: DS-160 Form was electronically filled and sent to US Consulate (Tel Aviv)

5/9/16: Consulate Interview and Visa Approval

5/18/16: Passport with O-1 Visa was delivered

5/25/16: Entry with O-1 Visa at JFK Airport


O1B - 1 Year Extension

1/6/19: I-129 Form sent to USCIS - VSC

1/8/19: I-129 Form received by USCIS

1/12/19: NOA1 notification received

4/19/19: Premium Processing Request was sent to USCIS -VSC

4/22/19: Premium Processing Request was received by USCIS

4/30/19: NOA2 - Request for Additional Evidence was sent

5/15/19: Request For Additional Evidence Response was sent to USCIS - VSC

5/17/19: NOA3 - Request For Additional Evidence Response was received by USCIS - VSC

5/29/19: Approval Notice was emailed

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