An O-1 visa will be granted to those with some type of extraordinary ability or who have made an extraordinary achievement. The visa can be issued for a temporary stay or to work temporarily in the United States. The extraordinary ability O-1A visa can be in arts, athletics, business, education, or the sciences. The O-1B visa applies to extraordinary achievement. This would include those who have made achievements in TV and film, and who have received international recognition for their work.
Qualifications for the O-1A Visa
There are several ways for someone to qualify for an O-1A visa. The individual could have been the recipient of a major award, such as a Nobel Prize. Otherwise, they will need to meet at least three of the requirements that follow:
● Needs to be a member of an association in their field where membership requires outstanding achievements and has been judged by known national or international experts in that field
● Needs to have made major contributions of business, scholarly, or scientific nature in their field
● Needs to have had material published about their contributions to the field in a major trade publication, newspaper, professional, or large media outlet
● Receive nationally or internationally recognized prizes/award for excellence in their field
● Needs to show evidence that they have and can command a high salary for their services in their field
● Needs to have authored scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media outlets in their field
● Needs to have judged the work of others in their field as part of a panel or individually
● Needs to have maintained employment as a critical or essential employee for businesses or organizations that have a renowned reputation
In some cases, other evidence that is similar to the items mentioned above can be used.
Qualifications for the O-1B Visa
To qualify for the O-1B visa, the requirements are similar. They will need to have been nominated for or have received a national or international prize known in their field. For example, this could be a Grammy, an Emmy, or an Oscar. If they do not have this type of award, they will need to meet at least three of the following requirements.
● They need to have performed or will perform as a lead in an event or production that has a good reputation – evidence could include publications, contracts, endorsements, critical reviews, publicity releases, and ads
● They need to have national or international recognition for their achievements as evidenced by published materials, critical reviews, etc. about them or by them that have appeared in newspapers, magazines, trade journals, and similar publications
● They need to have performed or will perform in a critical role or starring role for organizations that have a solid reputation as evinced through publications, trade journals, newspapers, and similar types of publications
● They need to show that they have a record of success, either commercial or critical, as evidenced by rating, title, recognition in the field, ratings for TV or movies, box office receipts, and similar achievements that have been reported in publications, trade journals, newspapers, and similar publications
● They could also use evidence of recognition for their achievements with testimonials from other experts in their field, critics, organizations, or government agencies – the testimonials need to indicate the writer’s knowledge, authority, and expertise of the applicant’s achievements
● They need to show that they command a high salary for the services they provide via contracts or similar evidence
Again, documentation and evidence that is similar to the above can be offered as well.
Regardless of whether someone is coming to the United States with an O-1A or an O-1B visa, they need to be coming to the country to continue work in their field.
Applying for the O-Visa
The petitioner for the visa will need to first file Form I-129 with the USCIS, which is a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker at least 45 days before the date the beneficiary is to start work in the United States. They cannot file more than a year ahead of time.
Also, the petition will need to include a written advisory opinion from a labor organization or peer group that states they do not have any objection to the applicant being employed for the work. If there is not a group that can sign this opinion, the officials will use the other evidence that has been provided to make their decision.
They will also need to provide a contract or other evidence that shows the terms of the agreement between the petitioner and the individual who will be coming to the U.S. to work. They also need to have an itinerary that explains what the foreign national will be doing and working on and how long they will be working.
How Long Can a Person Stay?
Those who receive an O-visa can stay in the United States for a maximum of three years initially. It is then possible to require extensions that are a year-long each. A new I-129 will need to be filed for each extension.
What About Family and the O-Visa?
The spouses and children of someone who has an O-visa can come with the holder on an O-3 visa. Children applying for an O-3 visa must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Those who have an O-3 visa can study in the United States, but they are not allowed to work. If spouses and children wish to travel outside the U.S. for tourism or to visit family overseas, they are permitted to leave as many times as they wish and can reenter the United States without having to file for any adjustments or renewals. An O-3 visa functions as a multiple entry visa for the duration of its validity.