O-1 Visa for Persons of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

O-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals possessing extraordinary ability in the sciences, athletics, education, or business (O-1A) or extraordinary achievements in the arts, film, or television (O-1B). Also linked with the O-1 visa are the O-2 visa for support staff of O-1 visa holders and the O-3 visa for spouses and children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

O-1 visas are sponsored by employers or agents.

To receive a free O-1 visa consultation, contact the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today by calling 888-517-9888.

O-1 Visa Guidelines

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), O-1 visa beneficiaries 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.” Acclaim and extraordinary ability is defined differently for each industry.

  • Athletics, business, education, and science – Has a level of expertise indicating that the O-1 visa beneficiary has risen to the very top of the field.
  • The arts – Has shown a degree of skill and recognition substantially above average. Is considered a leading figure in the arts.
  • Film and television – Has a degree of skill and recognition to be considered outstanding, notable, or a leader in the motion picture and/or television industry.

The petitioner for an O-1 visa should file USCIS Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker before employment is scheduled to begin. The USCIS recommends filing the form at least 45 days in advance of the start date, but not more than one year in advance. Petitioners should also file the same form for O-2 qualified support staff in the same time frame.

O visa recipients can enter the United States up to 10 days before the validity period of the visa begins and may leave up to days after the validity period ends, but the O visa holder may not work during these grace periods.

O-1 Visa Qualifications

Petitioners must submit a relevant set of evidence related to the qualifications of both O-1 and O-2 visa beneficiaries, as well as documents related to the nature of employment, including contracts and itineraries.

Evidence requirements are significant. If an O-1 visa beneficiary has not received a significant achievement, such as a Nobel Prize (O-1A) or Oscar, Emmy, and/or Grammy (O-1B), the beneficiary must provide three pieces of supporting evidence to document his or her claim to extraordinary ability. Evidence for O-2 visas should establish just how essential the O-2 beneficiary is in support of the O-1 beneficiary.

O-1 Visa Limitations

O visas are initially valid for up to three years. After three years, the O visa may be extended for the amount of time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity, up to one year.  There are no limits on how many times an O-1 visa can be extended as long as the visa holder continues to meet the requirements of the visa.  There is no maximum length of stay.

O-1 beneficiaries who wish to change employers are allowed to do so. New employers must file a new Form I-129 on their behalf. If there is any change to the terms of employment, the petitioner must file an amended Form I-129. For nonimmigrant athletes with an O-1 classification, should they be traded to a new team, employment authorization remains intact for 30 days. During that time frame, their new team, acting as employer, must file a new Form I-129. Filing the new form extends employment authorization until the new petition is adjudicated.

O-3 nonimmigrants are allowed to pursue an education in the United States, but are not authorized for employment.

O-1 Visa Law Firm

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping foreign nationals seek visas to work in the United States since 1984. Our dedicated lawyers provide expert legal guidance to help businesses navigate the complexities of U.S. visa law. Our goal is a successful outcome for your business and your workers. If your business is looking to sponsor O visas for extraordinary ability, call us today for a free consultation.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling 888-517-9888!

Non-immigrant US Visa