O-1 Visa: For Non-Immigrants of Extraordinary Ability

What is an O-1 Visa?5474934_ml

The nonimmigrant O-1 visa is a temporary means for individuals, who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, to enter the United States to practice their craft. Eligibility also includes those who have a proven record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized, either in the US or abroad, for those achievements.

The Four Classifications of O- Visas

  • O-1A visa: For those individuals with an extraordinary ability in non-artistic areas (sciences, education, business, or athletics; not arts, tv or film)
  • O-1B visa: individuals with an extraordinary ability or achievement in the arts (writing, painting, motion picture or television industry, etc)
  • O-2 visa: individuals who accompany an O-1 eligible artist or athlete, to assist with an event or performance (e.g. manager, coach, security etc.)
  • O-3 visa: For the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

Eligibility Requirements for the O1 Visa

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability in one of these three categories:

  • Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics.
    • A level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the top of his field
  • Extraordinary ability in the field of arts.
    • a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts
  • Extraordinary ability in the field of motion picture or television
    • 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

Note: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

How Do I Prove Extraordinary Ability?

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1A Visa (For Non-Artists)
For individuals to prove eligibility for the O-1A Visa, they must have recieved a major, internationally-recognized award, or produce evidence of three (3) of the following items:

  • Winning of any relevant nationally or internationally recognized awards or prizes
  • Membership in industry-related associations which require outstanding achievement as a prerequisite (e.g. Hall of Fame, etc.)
  • Published content in major trade publications, professional journals, newspapers or other major media outlets highlighting the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s contributions to the field
  • Original contributions of major significance to scientific, scholarly, or business-related fields
  • A high salary in their industry or other significant compensation for their professional services
  • Participation as an industry expert on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the others’ work in the same or related fields of specialization
  • Employment in an essential role for organizations and establishments with a prominent reputation of excellence.

Evidentiary Critieria for O-1B Visa (For Artists)
To prove eligibility for the O-1B visa, individuals must show evidence that they have received, or been nominated for, significant industry-recognized awards, national and international (Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, Director’s Guild etc.) produce evidence of at least (3) three of the following items:

  • Performance in a lead or starring role in reputable productions or events
  • National or international recognition for industry-related achievements;
  • Performance in a lead or critical role role for distinguished organizations and establishments
  • Commercial or critically acclaim for industry-related successes;
  • Recognition for professional achievements from a government organization, critic,or other primary experts in the field
  • A high salary in their industry or other significant compensation for their professional services

Note: If the above standards do not readily apply to the O-1A/B visa beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility
Additional Requirements for O-1 Visa

  • While subject to specific exceptions, a written advisory opinion from a group of industry peers(including labor organizations) or designated expert in the beneficiary’s field of work is required.
  • For O-1B applicants in the motion picture and television industry, this consultation must come from the appropriate labor union as well as a management organization with documented expertise in the beneficiary’s industry.

Important Facts About The O-1 Visa

How Long Is an O-1 Visa Good For?

  • The O-1 visa is granted for a period of stay of up to three (3) years, with the potential for one (1) year extensions depending on work performance under the visa.

How Long Does it Take to Get an O-1 Visa?

  • The standard application and approval process for the O-1 visa takes around 3-4 months. The USCIS offers expidited ‘premium processing’ for an extra fee which can shorten the process to as few as 15 days, depending on the documentation you provide.

Can a US Agent Act As My Petitioner?

Yes, A U.S. agent may act as petitioner in the following circumstances

  • The US agent is the actual employer of the O-1 visa beneficiary
  • Agent is the authorized representative of both the employer and the beneficiary
  • The agent is duly appointed by employer to serve as the employer’s petitioning agent

How Do I Get An O-1 Visa with Galstyan Law

Having successfully handled hundreds of O-1 visa cases, Mr. Galstyan stands ready to put his extensive experience as an immigration attorney, to work for you. We prepare and file your petition along with the required documentation and supporting evidence to ensure that your case is approved quickly with the USCIS. Call Galstyan Law today, toll-free at 800-939-8004, or email us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation with an experienced Los Angeles-based immigration lawyer, and get your visa process underway today!

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