O Visas for Individuals With Extraordinary Ability

Chicago O visa immigration lawyer

Chicago O Visa Immigration Lawyer

O visa is a non-immigrant employment based visa available for persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, sciences, business, entertainment, and education fields.  It can be used for start-up entrepreneurs, scientists, athletes, artists, educators, to name a few.  While open to a wide variety of fields, the foreign national must be able to prove they possess “extraordinary ability in the following fields and credentials:

  • sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim or,
  • motion picture and television productions that demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, and
  • whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation, and
  • seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.”

Duration and Limits of O visa

There are no limits to the amount of available O Visas issued by the government. Each O visa is valid for the length of time necessary for a particular event, tour, or season, up to a maximum of three years. O visas may be extended for one year periods in unlimited increments.

Requirements for O-1 visa

Applicants of extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics eligible for O visas must be one of a small percentage who has reached the top of his/her field or has received a major award such as a Nobel Prize or award for excellence. To prove “top of the field”, strong relevant evidence must be included and examples of which include but not limited to the following:

  • Published Material

Applicant has published material in professional or trade publications or have major media attention related to the Applicant and the Applicant’s work;

  • Judge/Panelist
    Applicant has participated on a panel or individually as a Judge of the work of others in the Applicant’s field of expertise. Applicants of extraordinary ability in entertainment industry must demonstrate distinction in his/her field. “Distinction” means a high level of achievement, such as:
  • Evidence that the Applicant has or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events that possess a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  • Evidence that the Applicant possesses national and/or international recognition for achievement evidenced by critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.

O-2 Visa – Essential Support Staff of Artists and Athletes

O-2 Visas are available for Applicants who work as essential support personnel of O Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers. O-2 visas are not available for persons that assist O visa holders in business, education and science. O-2 visas are valid for the length of time necessary for a particular event, tour, or season, up to a maximum of three years. O-2 visas may be extended for one year periods in unlimited increments.

O-2 Visa Requirements

  • The O-2 applicant is an integral part of such actual performance;
  • The O-2 Applicant has critical skills and experience which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by other individuals;

Advantages of O Visa over other Non-Immigrant Employment Visas

  • Viable option for J visa holders who are subject to the 2 year residency requirement;
  • While an O visa cannot be self-petitioning, if the Applicant is self-employed, his/her O visa can be petitioned by the Applicant’s agent/agency;
  • visa scientist, artists, educators, businessman or athletics may qualify for permanent residency under the Employment based First Preference (EB-1) and maybe self-employed and petition for him/herself.

O-3 Visa – Accompanying Relatives of those with O and O-2 Visas

O-3 Visas are available to accompanying spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of O and O-2 visa holders. O-3 visa holders may not work, however may apply for a green card while in the United States on a O-3 Visa.

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