O Visa – Extraordinary Ability Visa
O visa is non-immigrant work visa available for persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, sciences, business, entertainment, and education fields. An O visa is a broad category and 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 & Limits of O Visa
There are no limits to the amount of available O Visas. 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 O1 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;
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.