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Home - O-1 Visa Category for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability

O-1 Visa Category for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa classification is similar to the EB-1A immigrant visa category. Unlike the EB-1A, however, the O-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that is only available to foreign workers who are coming to the US to perform services related to a specific “event” for an organization. The O-1 visa also departs from the EB-1A in that it requires a U.S. sponsor. The U.S. sponsor can be an established organization or a start-up business enterprise.

The O-1 visa is reserved for foreign nationals who can demonstrate either:

  • Extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, or the arts or,
  • Extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television.

O-1A Category for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Education, Business, or Athletics

A foreign worker qualifying as an individual of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, must show that they have received sustained national or international acclaim in their field of endeavor. The foreign worker’s extraordinary ability may be proven by showing that, looking at the totality of the evidence, they have either:

  1. Received a major, internationally recognized award such as a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize, or
  2. Satisfied at least three of the following criteria in their field by documenting that they:
    1. Have received a nationally or internationally recognized prize or award,
    2. Belong to an organization that requires outstanding achievement of its members,
    3. Are the subject of published materials discussing their work in professional or major trade publications, newspapers, or other major media,
    4. Judge the work of others in the field,
    5. Have original scientific, business, or scholarly work of major significance in their field,
    6. Have authored scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media,
    7. Were previously or are currently employed in a critical or essential capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputation,
    8. Have a history of commanding a high salary (or a future commitment of a high salary or remuneration), or
    9. Can provide other comparable evidence showing the individual’s extraordinary ability in their field

O-1B Visa Classification for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability in the Arts or Extraordinary Achievement in Motion Pictures or Television

The O-1B visa is available to those foreign workers who can demonstrate either:

  • Extraordinary ability in the arts, which is defined as a high level of achievement in the arts as shown by a level of skill and recognition that is substantially above that ordinarily found and the foreign worker is recognized as prominent, renowned, leading, or well known in their arts field.
  • A demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and the foreign worker is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in their field.

The foreign worker’s extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television may be proven by demonstrating that, looking at the totality of the evidence, they have either:

  1. Received or been nominated for a significant national or international award in the field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or Director’s Guild Award.
  2. Satisfied at least three of the following criteria in their field by documenting that they:
    1. Have performed and will perform as a lead or starring participant in productions or events with a distinguished reputation as shown by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements,
    2. Are nationally or internationally recognized for achievements in their field, as shown by critical reviews or other published material by or about the foreign worker in major newspapers, trade publications, magazines, or other publications,
    3. Have performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations with a distinguished reputation as shown by newspaper or trade journal articles, other publications, or testimonials,
    4. Have a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success as shown by indicators such as title, rating, or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other achievements reported in trade journals, newspapers, or other publications,
    5. Have significant recognition by organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field for her achievements in the field,
    6. Have a history of commanding a high salary (or a future commitment of a high salary or remuneration), or
    7. Can provide other comparable evidence showing their extraordinary ability in the arts (this does not apply to extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television).

O-2 Support Personnel for an Artistic or Athletic Endeavor

If the O-1 worker will perform services at an athletic or artistic event, essential support personnel may be granted O-2 nonimmigrant status to accompany the O-1 worker. Essential support personnel may qualify for the O-2 nonimmigrant classification if that support person either:

  1. Is an integral part of the actual performance or events and has critical skills and experience with the O-1 worker that are neither general nor possessed by others.
  2. Has skills and experience with the O-1 worker in motion pictures or television that are not general and that are critical because of either:
    • A pre-existing and longstanding working relationship, or
    • For a specific production, because significant production will take place both inside and outside the U.S. and the continuing participation of the support personnel is essential to the production’s successful completion.

O-1 Visa Advantage Points

  • The O-1 Visa is a dual intent visa, meaning the visa holder will be deemed to have both immigrant and nonimmigrant intent. Because of this, the EB-1 visa is an excellent steppingstone to obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
  • There is no cap on how many times you can renew your O-1 status.
  • The O-1 visa is eligible for premium processing service. This means if you file Form I-907 and pay the USCIS premium processing fee to the USCIS at the same time you file your request for O-1 classification, your petition will be adjudicated in 15 calendar days.

Our Process for Filing O-1 Visas

Below is our step-by-step process for filing these case type:

  1. Send us your most up-to-date resume to review.
  2. Schedule a consultation.
  3. Based on our conversation, we will define your field of endeavor. We will also carefully define the “event” for which you will engage in.
  4. We will advise on which regulatory criteria to pursue.
  5. We will send you an extensive Q&A and request for documentation.
  6. We will conduct research to gather objective documentation to strengthen your O-1 case.
  7. We will advise about possible referees who are well positioned to sign the letters supporting your case.
  8. Our attorneys will draft several reference letters on your behalf. We will work with you to revise the support letters until they are perfect.
  9. Compile all documentary evidence, including external research, recognitions, correspondences, media articles, and support letters.
  10. Our attorneys will prepare all forms required and an O-1 Final Brief, which holistically presents you as an individual of Extraordinary Ability in your field.
  11. File O-1 Petition with USCIS.
  12. Obtain an approval!

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us at: info@eoimmigration.com or call our number (305) 391-2105

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