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Hello Peter, I'm a Grad Student with 5 years of Industry experience on a non-immigrant visa (F1). I intent to take up residency in the U.S. after graduating.

Is getting a job (H1 -> EB1/2/3 -> GC the only path or could I do a startup (no huge investment)?

An H-1B as a U.S. graduate is a good option and an O-1 through your own startup might also work but I'd need to know a lot more about your background and potential startup.

What are the realistic "extraordinary achievement" conditions of an O-1 visa?

The information online makes it seem that it is for olympic medal, nobel prize and oscar winners.

It's nuanced so it's hard to define but oftentimes the creation of a company that is doing something novel is enough to support an O-1 even if the company has limited funding or clients.

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