Many people incorrectly believe that once your O1 visa petition is approved by USCIS that it will automatically be issued by the US Consulate in their home country. The US consulate has the discretion to approve or deny your visa request regardless of USCIS approval. Complete visa approval is a two step process.
After USCIS approves the visa petition then Step 1 is complete, Step 2 depending on your specific circumstances, may mean attending an interview at the US consulate to have your visa issued and stamped in your passport.
This is always true for individuals that:
- Are currently outside of the US.
- Those who are in the US but are Visa Waiver entrants.
- Those who are in the US on a nonimmigrant visa (for example B2, F1, M1, etc…) and wish to travel outside of the US at some point in the future. This group will always need to have the O1 visa issued at the US consulate before entering the US as an O1 visa holder.
So don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because USCIS has approved your visa, that the US Consulate must issue you a visa.
In the next post we will discuss what is needed to have your visa issued at the US consulate in your home country.