Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

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USCIS Issues Updated Guidance for STEM-Related O1A Petitions

2 min read
US Visa renewal

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policy manual to give extra guidance on proof that can be utilized in support of O1A petitions. The O1A nonimmigrant visa category is reserved for people who possess extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The updated guidance is specifically related to O1A petitions filed for nonimmigrants. With extraordinary abilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Background on Directive to Attract STEM Workers |O1A Petitions

In January 2022, the Biden Government declared a few actions to attract and retain foreign national STEM workers. One such step was to update the USCIS policy manual with instances of proof. Further, that might be submitted to fulfill the O1A evidentiary criteria for cases focusing on STEM fields. This latest update appears to be a continuation of the focus on STEM workers announced earlier this year.

Competitive Government Grant / Stipend is a Positive Factor for O1A Filings

This latest update to the policy manual explains that being named on a competitive government grant or stipend for STEM research. Also, it might help to show that a “beneficiary is among the small percentage at top of the beneficiary’s field”. This proof is added to the list of examples that might be utilized to demonstrate an individual’s extraordinary ability. A complete list can be found in the USCIS Policy Manual.

[Limitations on H1B Extensions Beyond the Standard Six-Year Limit]


Moreover, the worldwide economy increasingly depends on skills in the different STEM disciplines. This extra guidance from the USCIS will help to attract international STEM talent to the United States and to retain existing talent.

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