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O Extraordinary Ability Visas

Immediate attention: (212) 391 3928

Can I apply for an O-Visa if I have extraordinary ability in my field of expertise and have secured employment in the U.S.?

If you have: 1) extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or have a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, 2) are recognized nationally or internationally for your achievement, AND 3) have secured employment in the U.S., you might qualify for an O-Visa you might qualify for an O-Visa. This is a TEMPORARY employment visa.

“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 of people who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

“Extraordinary ability” in the field of arts means distinction.

In other words, you have been someone who has achieved a certain level of both success and recognition within your field, by your peers and experts, and be able to that through meeting various criteria.

You do not have to be a public figure or won a major award in order to be found extraordinary.

  • The O-Visa is a temporary work visa based on extraordinary ability. To get a Green Card based on extraordinary ability, you can apply for an EB-1 Visa.

Types of O-Visas

O-1A Visa

For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry).

O-1B Visa

For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or the television industry.

O-2 Visa

For individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.

O-3 Visa

For individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

Why an O-Visa Lawyer

  • Preparation and submission of an extensive application packet, including forms, testimony letters, expert letters, and more depending on the Applicant’s qualifications.
  • Detailed attorney cover letter outlining the legal requirements, the Applicant’s Background, and how the applicant meets all the requirements using their qualifications.
  • Strategic advice from beginning to end on how to meet the requirements and attorney provides assistance and oversees every single piece of evidence.

Requirements for O-1A Visa Application

You must have received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought
  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

​If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility.

Benefits of O-Visa

  • Can get the visa initially for up to 3 years, and then do unlimited 1 year renewals as long as you maintain the employment, or do a full 3 year renewal application;
  • Your attorney or someone else other than your employer can act as your U.S. agent to petition for you;
  • You can have multiple employers;
  • Can also get visas for dependents (spouse and children under 21); and
  • It is a dual intent visa so you can apply for permanent residency.

Requirements for O-1B Visa Application

You must have received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).

Benefits of O-Visa

  • Can get the visa initially for up to 3 years, and then do unlimited 1 year renewals as long as you maintain the employment, or do a full 3 year renewal application;
  • Your attorney or someone else other than your employer can act as your U.S. agent to petition for you;
  • You can have multiple employers;
  • Can also get visas for dependents (spouse and children under 21); and
  • It is a dual intent visa so you can apply for permanent residency.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for the O-3 nonimmigrant visa. They may not work in the U.S. but they may engage in full or part time study on an O-3 visa.

You must demonstrate that you will be entering the U.S. to work in your field of extraordinary ability. Therefore, you must have an offer of employment for the time period you wish to be in the U.S. In fact, a requirement of the visa petition is to provide proof of employment and an itinerary in the case of several employers. Thus, you must have a petitioner or agent file the O-Visa petition for you. It is not a self-petitioning visa.

An employer or agent must file the O-Visa petition for you. You cannot petition for yourself. If you have extraordinary ability in your field and wish to self-petition, contact us to do an assessment of your eligibility for an EB-1 visa, which does not require employment and allows you to self-petition.

Your employer is not the only person who can file the O-Visa petition for you. If you have an agent, your agent can file for you, especially in the case of multiple employers.

Your lawyer can also act as your agent and file the O-Visa petition for you.

A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

Note, your lawyer can act as your agent for the limited purpose of filing the O-Visa.

No. You can have each employer separately file the O-Visa for you. However, that might not be the most efficient and cost-effective approach. In the case of multiple employers, you may also have an agent file for you so that multiple O-Visa petitions do not have to be filed. Schedule a consultation with us to learn how you can file a O-Visa petition with multiple employers and concurrent work projects.

Schedule your appointment and start your O-Visa application



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