An O-1 visa gives legal status to people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or those who have received national or international recognition for their achievements in the movie or television businesses.
There are three types of O Visas:
- O-1A people with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
- O-1B: people 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. People holding an O-2 visa must be an "integral part" of the O-1A's activity or "essential" to the completion of the of the O-1B's production. The O-2 holder has important skills and experience that a U.S. worker does not, and which are necessary to the O-1's successful performance.
- O- 3: the spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders. They cannot work here, but they can study part or full-time.
An O-1 visa allows individuals to stay in the U.S. for up to three years, with the possibility of a yearly extension.
Eligibility Requirements for an O-1 Visa
The person applying for an O-1 visa must show extraordinary ability by sustained national or international recognition, and must be in the U.S. temporarily to work in that area of exceptional ability.
For an O-1A, "extraordinary ability" in science, education, business or athletics means a degree of expertise demonstrating that the individual has climbed to the very top percentage of his or her field.
For an O-1B in the arts, "extraordinary ability" means distinction. Distinction applies to someone who has achieved substantially more than the ordinary person in that field. One would describe this person as renowned, leading, or well-known.
For an O-1B in the movie or television business, the person has to show extraordinary achievement that is significantly above others ordinarily in the business. People would describe him or her as outstanding, notable, or leading.
Applying for an O-1 Visa
Applying for an O-1 visa is a complex process, and it is advisable to seek assistance from an attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Jacob D. Geller if you are thinking about applying for an O-1 visa.
Form I-129. The person seeking an O-1 visa should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the appropriate USCIS office. You cannot file the application more than one year before you need to be in the country, but you should file it it at least 45 days before the date you need to be here.
Consultation. The individual seeking an O-1 visa must provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group in the beneficiary's area of ability, or a person the group designates. Specific to O-1 applicants in the movie or television industries, the consultation has to come from a labor union and management organization with relevant expertise. There are exceptions to this consultation require if the O-1 visa applicant can show there is no appropriate peer group, or if he or she is seeking readmission to perform similar services within two years of the last consultation.
Contract. The applicant for an O-1 visa must send over a copy of the contract between him or herself and the beneficiary.
Itinerary. The person desiring an O-1 visa should explain the nature of the events, their beginning and end dates, and a copy of any itinerary if applicable.
Benefits of the O-1 Visa
Some benefits of the O-1 visa are:
- An O-1 visa applies to more types of work than other categories of visas like L or H.
- The O-1 visa does not have an annual quota unlike other visas like the H-1B.
- An O visa holder and his or her family can travel to and from the U.S. as long as the stamp and status are valid.
How We Can Help
The Law Offices of Jacob D. Geller has experienced immigration attorneys who can handle the O-1 visa application process from beginning to end. If you believe you might qualify for an O-1 visa, please contact us at 781-462-1346 or online a free consultation.