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USCIS Announces Extension of Filing Time for O & P Nonimmigrant Petitions
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) give petitioners more time to bring foreign workers with extraordinary abilities to the United States. Petitioners can file O and P nonimmigrant petitions up to one year before a scheduled event, under normal processing procedures. USCIS is making the change through a final rule that was transmitted to the Federal Register for publication on April 16, 2007.

Before the change, Petitioners were only allowed to file petitions six months in advance of their events. The short filing period often meant that case processing wasnt completed until on or after the date the individual was needed. Many petitioners seeking alien performers or athletes must schedule and plan for events a year in advance.

The O nonimmigrant visa provides entrance to persons who exist extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, or those persons with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television production. The P nonimmigrant visa provides entrance to persons who are internationally recognized as athletes or entertainers, and those who perform as artists or entertainers in culturally unique programs.

After USCIS first proposed the rule in April 2005, the decision was received to extend the timeline results from comments. These comments, from performing arts organizations, educational institutions, the sports industry, members of Congress and the general public, overwhelmingly supported the proposal to extend the petition filing time from six months to a year.

The final rule, effective May 16, 2007, does not revise any other requirements related to the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or the evidentiary standards that establish eligibility for the O or P nonimmigrant classifications. This rule does not change the filing timeframes for other nonimmigrant classifications that use Form I-129.

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