Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

Overview

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is intended for 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.

O Visa Categories

The O visa category classifications are:

 

           O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics

(not including 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.  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:  individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

General Eligibility Criteria and Requirement

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

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 percentage who has risen to the very top of his or her field.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction, i.e. 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 qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Procedure

Generally, to qualify for O1 visa, aliens of extraordinary ability must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing sufficient evidence, such as:

Receipt of a major internationally recognized award, or at least three of the following:

Documentation of the individual's receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards in the field

Documentation of the individual's membership in associations in the field

Published material in professional or a trade publication or media about the individual.

Evidence the individual has been employed in a critical or essential capacity.

Evidence the individual has commanded a high salary or will command a high salary

Period of Stay / Extension of Stay

An O1 visa is initially granted for three years. Subsequently it can be extended for one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted. Unlike other visas, the applicant need not demonstrate proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which the applicant has no intention of abandoning.