O-1 Visa

O-1 Nonimmigrant Visa, Aliens with Extraordinary/Advanced Ability

The O-1 visa is a temporary visa granted to aliens with extraordinary ability in certain occupations who have obtained substantial national and/or international recognition.  O-1 visa applicant must first find an employer in the U.S., or agent, as the petition is filed on behalf of a U.S. company and not on behalf of the prospective foreign worker.

There are 2 types of O-1 visas: 

  • O-1A – for people in science, education, business, or sports; and 
  • O-1B – for workers in the arts, film, or television.

To qualify for an O-1 visa, an applicant must either be the recipient of a prestigious international award in science, education, business, art, or sports, such as the Nobel Prize, or provide documentary evidence satisfying at least three out of ten criteria established by the USCIS to prove distinguished achievement in a specific field.  

O-1A Criteria:

  1. Existence of other, less meaningful, international or national prizes and awards in one’s field of achievement; 
  2. Publications about the applicant in a variety of trade journals, magazines, newspapers, or other publications, or mentioning the applicant as an expert in his field in mass media;
  3. Membership in organizations or associations that require individual merit for admission;
  4. Original scholarly, research or business-related contributions of major significance;
  5. Publications authored by the applicant – scholarly and research articles, books, literary works;
  6. High salary or other types of remuneration for work of special competence;
  7. Membership in juries and other associations that assess specialists in the same or a related field – scientific councils, judging;
  8. Experience as a senior professional or leader in a reputable organization, company, or institution.

O-1B Criteria:

  1. Applicant has performed and will perform the role of host, or principal participant in productions or events of outstanding reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, publications, contracts;
  2. Received national or international recognition for achievements, as evidenced by critical reviews or other coverage of the applicant in major newspapers, trade publications, magazines, or other media;
  3. The applicant has worked, and will work, in a leadership, or key role in reputable organizations, or institutions, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, professional publications, journals, or reviews;
  4. Major commercial or critically acclaimed successes of the applicant as evidenced by such indicators as title, ratings, box office receipts, film, or television ratings;
  5. Received significant recognition of achievement from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the applicant’s field of endeavor;
  1. A high level of salary or other material reward relative to the level received by other professionals in the field, as demonstrated by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Answers to basic questions about О-1 visa.

Are there any additional nuances of obtaining an O-1 visa?
The O-1 visa also requires an advisory/expert opinion from a peer group, trade union, or organization in the applicant's field of distinguished achievement.
What is the maximum stay in the country on an O-1 visa?
The O-1 visa term is up to three years for both O-1 applicants and their family members (O-3 visa). Prior to the expiration of the initially approved O-1 term, the visa can be extended an indefinite number of times.

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