The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is issued to individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
It is a nonimmigrant employment-based visa category, which allows eligible individuals to come to the United States to work in their specific field of ability.
Classifications of O Visa:
- O-1A Visa is issued to individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
- O-1B Visa is issued to individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
- O-2 Visa is a type of O visa granted to 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 has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
- O-3 Visa is the dependent’s visa granted to spouse and unmarried minor children of O-1’s and O-2’s
The O-1 Visa is a sponsored visa, which means that a U.S. based and qualified employer must file a petition on behalf of the beneficiary, requiring his/her extraordinary ability. Likewise, the petitioner must submit substantial evidence that the beneficiary meets the merit to be granted the O-1 visa and that the position offered does require an individual of extraordinary ability.
O-1A – Alien of Extraordinary Ability in Science, Education, Business or Athletics –
In order to establish that the beneficiary has been recognized nationally and internationally as outstanding in their field, he/she must submit evidences that meet at least 3 of the following:
- The beneficiary is a recipient of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
- The beneficiary has membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
- The beneficiary has published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought
- The beneficiary has original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
- The beneficiary has authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought
- The beneficiary has commanded a high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
- The beneficiary has participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
- The beneficiary has established an employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
O-1B – Aliens of Extraordinary Achievement in Arts or Motion Pictures
To qualify as an alien of extraordinary achievement in the field of arts, the alien must be recognized as being prominent in his/her field of endeavor as demonstrated by the following:
- Evidence that the alien has been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award; or,
- At least three of the following forms of documentation:
- Evidence that the alien has performed, and will perform, services as lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications contracts, or endorsements;
- Evidence that the alien has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
- Evidence that the alien has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
- Evidence that the alien has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications;
- Evidence that the alien has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien’s achievements; or
- Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for service in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence; or,
- If the criteria above do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility.
Artists or Motion Picture Talents must be introduced to a concept of “itinerary” – a plan of projects that the foreign national will be working on while in the United States, whether it is a list of concerts, art shows, film shoots or exhibits. This will ensure the USCIS that the foreign national will be not unemployed and become a public charge.
Authorized Stay under the O Visa
The O visa may initially be issued for up to 3 years and if extension of stay is deemed necessary, a Petition to Extend Nonimmigrant Status, may be filed with the U.S. C.I.S. and may be granted in increments of up to 1 year.
Dependents of the O Visa Holder
Spouse and unmarried minor children may be issued the O-3 visa, which allows them to accompany the O-1 visa holder to the United States, having the same duration of stay. The O-3 visa does not authorize employment in the U.S.
**Please call our office for immediate assistance on your visa requirements.