The O-1 visa is for the 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.
The O nonimmigrant visa classification has several subcategories:
- O-1A for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry).
- O-1B for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
- O-2 for individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker must have critical skills and experience relating to the O-1 which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 and cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker.
- O-3 for individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s
Am I eligible for the O-1 visa?
To qualify for an O-1 visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or any field of “creative endeavor.” You must show a sustained national or international acclaim and you must be coming to the U.S. temporarily to continue working in your area of extraordinary ability.
To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, you must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that is ordinarily encountered.
Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. The word distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
What common issues do O-1 visa applicants encounter?
- Applicants need an “agent.” Do you have an employer, manager, or agent in the U.S. who can sign your application? If not, you will have a problem getting an O-1 visa approved.
- Is there a peer organization willing to recommend you and have no objection to your O-1 visa application?
- Do you have a major international recognition or at least three of the following:
- Documentation of the nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
- Any documentation of your memberships in associations in the field of the classification you are applying, which requires outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields
- Do you have published material in professional or major trade publications or in major media relating to the work in the field of the classification sought, including the title, date, and author of the published material?
- Is there evidence that you participated on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization?
- Do you have evidence of the original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field?
- Have you authored scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or in the major media?
- Do you have evidence that you have been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation?
- Have you commanded and currently command a high salary or other remuneration for services, demonstrated by contracts or other reliable documentation?
How long does an O-1 visa lasts?
The O-1 visa allows you to stay up to three years.
Are O-1 visa holders required to maintain residence outside of the U.S.?
No, you do not have to keep your residence abroad.
Can an O-1 visa holders apply for a green card?
Yes. You can apply for a green card while your O-1 visa is current.
If you have questions about visas to work, invest or study in the U.S., call us today and talk to an immigration attorney. We speak English, Spanish and Portuguese.