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O-1

  • Overview
  • Requirements
  • Filing Process
  • Common Questions & Answers

Overview

The O-1 visa is for individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

There are several categories of O Visas:

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (excluding the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1's and O-2's

The two main categories O-1A & O-1B have different criteria that are used to assess a potential applicant.

Requirements

O-1A Visas

The O-1A visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics and is suited for people who have outstanding performance in their field. In addition, the foreign nationals must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability.

To establish eligibility for an O-1A visa, qualified aliens must either have received a major national or internationally recognized award in your particular field or evidence or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Received a lesser nationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in the field
  • A member of any associations which require outstanding achievements of their members as judged by recognized national or international experts
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about you which relates to your work in the field
  • Participated on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization
  • Made original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of major significance
  • Authored scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media
  • Employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
  • Command a high salary or other remuneration for your services

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary's occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).

O-1B Visas

The O-1B visa is for  individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. In addition, the foreign nationals must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability. To establish eligibility for an O-1A visa, qualified aliens must either have received a major national or internationally recognized award in your particular field or evidence or evidence of at least (3) three of the categories similar to the O-1A visa requirements in motion pictures or television industry.

Filing Process

The O-1 visa does not permit self petitioning and as such, the petitioner (the company) must file Form I-129 and list the applicant as a beneficiary.  The petition may not be filed more than one year before the actual need for the alien's services.

The O-1 visa is initially approved for up to 3 years and can be renewed in one-year increments.

A spouse & children under the age of 21 can apply for an O-3 visa but may not work in the United States.  They may however, engage in full or part time study on an O-3 visa.

Common Questions & Answers

Find more information on various immigration topics discussed in our blog.

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