Non-immigrants in most categories may change to O-1 status. An O-1 petition for consulate notification may be filed on your behalf if you are currently in J-1 non-immigrant status and subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. However, you will need to travel outside the U.S. to apply for the O-1 visa stamp once the petition is approved, and then re-enter the U.S. in O-1 non-immigrant status. If you are an O-1 changing employment to Emory, you may begin working for Emory only after Emory's O-1 petition has been approved.
To qualify for O-1 non-immigrant status, you must possess skills and abilities that place you among the top one to two percentage of individuals in your field of endeavor, and must be filling a position that requires someone who possesses this extraordinary ability. This is NOT a non-immigrant status for those who demonstrate potential for rising to the very top of their field of endeavor.
The O-1 non-immigrant status is often used to employ foreign nationals who hold J-1 non-immigrant status and who are subject to the 2-year home country residence requirement. It may also be used instead of the H-1B if you have exhausted all time in H-1B non-immigrant status or will not qualify for the H-1B non-immigrant status due to testing requirements for International Medical Graduates (IMGs), for example.
J-1s who are subject to the 2-year home country residence requirement will NOT be able to change their non-immigrant status within the U.S. Emory will submit a petition for O-1 non-immigrant status to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and, if the petition is approved, the J-1 then must leave the U.S. and apply for an O-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas (Canada or Mexico may be an option).
Once a petition to change status to O-1 has been filed and received by USCIS, you may NOT travel outside the U.S. If you do travel outside the U.S., the O-1 petition will automatically be approved for consulate notification rather than for a change of status. Please discuss any travel plans with an ISSS advisor PRIOR to filing a request to change status to O-1.