The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant work visa available to aliens who possess extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics. Applicants must prove that they have sustained national or international acclaim in their field for a sustained period of at least three years. To be eligible for an O-1 visa, applicants must demonstrate that they possess three of the following: receipt of a major international award or recognition, membership in professional associations that require outstanding achievements of their members, published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications, evidence of participation on judging panels for others’ work or original scientific, literary, or artistic contributions to the field, and evidence of a high salary compared to others in the field.
The cost of filing an O-1 visa application is typically around $700–$800, depending on the location and type of visa application. The timeline for obtaining an O-1 visa varies depending upon the caseload and availability at the USCIS processing center, but approvals typically take between 3 to 6 months from the time of filing.
An O-1 visa is considered a “dual intent” visa, meaning the holder may eventually apply for lawful permanent residency in the U.S. or a green card. However, it is important to note that obtaining an O-1 does not guarantee approval for a green card; additional criteria must be met for approval. Furthermore, the O-1 visa is limited to the purpose for which it was issued, and while in the U.S., holders must continue to be employed or engaged in an activity related to their field of expertise. Therefore, it is important to note that once the holder of an O-1 visa has been approved for a green card, they must apply for an adjustment of status to continue living and working legally in the U.S. With this application, appropriate documentation demonstrating intent to return to their home country must be provided. Additionally, the applicant must prove that their application is consistent with the original O-1 visa purpose. Only after the adjustment of status has been approved may an individual begin to work in any capacity and change employers. Once all criteria have been met, a green card can be issued within five to eight months.
Overall, obtaining an O-1 visa is a complex process that requires various forms of documentation and preparation. However, with proper guidance and support, individuals can successfully apply for an O-1 visa and eventually obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. The O-1 visa is a valuable tool to allow foreign nationals who possess extraordinary abilities to pursue their dreams and thrive professionally in America.
If you have questions relating to the O-1 visa, we would be happy to review your case, guide you through the necessary legal procedures, and answer any questions you may have regarding your application.