This video will discuss the O-1 visa. The O1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for gifted people who have a special ability of some kind. Specifically, the O1 visa is for people with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics or who have a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
With an O1 visa, you can live in the United States and work within your area of extraordinary ability. There is also no limit to the number of times you can extend your O1 visa, so you may be eligible to stay in the USA for extended periods.
With an O1 visa, your spouse and children may qualify for immigration benefits to the USA. To qualify for an O1 visa, you must prove that you have an extraordinary ability and are coming to the USA to work in your field of extraordinary ability.
A US employer or agent must file the O1 visa petition. You cannot file an O1 visa petition on your behalf, and it is not eligible for self-petition. The US company or agent is the petitioner, and the person receiving the O1 visa is the beneficiary.
The O-1 visa requirements will vary depending on the beneficiary’s particular circumstances. The following section will be divided into 4 parts:
⦁ Business, science, athletics, and education
⦁ Resolving Ambiguities
Business, Science, Athletics, and Education
Applicants in these fields will need to apply for the O-1A visa. To successfully obtain an O-1A visa, they must:
⦁ Have an extraordinary ability
⦁ Have “sustained national or international acclaim.”
⦁ Show that they have risen to the upper echelon of their field
The standard in this category is that of distinction. If applying as an artist, under the O-1B (arts) category, the beneficiary will need to prove that they:
⦁ Are distinguished in their field
⦁ Have attained a “high level of achievement.”
⦁ Have a skill and recognition above and beyond that normally seen in the arts
⦁ Are widely acclaimed in the art world
Applicants in the motion picture and television (MPTV) industry will need to apply for the O-1B (MPTV) visa. The beneficiary must:
⦁ Have a record of extraordinary achievement
⦁ Have a skill and recognition superseding that usually encountered in the film and T.V. industry
⦁ Be widely recognized as being prominent in their field
The applicant may have difficulty determining whether they should apply for the arts or the MPTV category if, for instance, they are a visual artist whose work will be displayed in a major motion picture. Further confusion may result if the artist’s work is featured in online content. Generally speaking, any work appearing in streaming movies, online commercials, web series, or other content similar to T.V. or motion pictures will most likely be classified as MPTV. Content appearing on static websites, self-produced blogs/vlogs, or social media will fall under the arts category more often than not.
What are the Benefits of an O1 Visa?
1. You Can Live and Work in the USA for an Extended Period
⦁ With the O1 visa, there is no limit to the number of times you can extend your status. Once approved, your first O1 visa petition can give you lawful status in the USA for up to 3 years. You can then extend your status for up to 1 year at a time. For this reason, some people stay in the USA for 15 years or more with an O1 visa.
2. Benefits for Your Immediate Family Members
⦁ By getting approved for an O1 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old are eligible to accompany you to the United States. Your dependents are not permitted to work in the United States with O3 status but can attend US schools.
3. You Can Work for Multiple Employers
⦁ Another feature of the O1 visa is that it permits you to work for multiple different employers in the United States.
4. O2 Visa Available for Your Assistants
⦁ Suppose you are approved for an O1 visa based on extraordinary ability in the arts or athletics or based on extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. In that case, you may be able to bring workers to accompany and assist you in the United States. These workers would apply for the O2 visa.
5. No Annual Limit on the Number of O1 Visas Issued
⦁ Another benefit of the O1 visa is that there is no annual cap on the number of O1 visa issues. This is contrary to other visas, such as the H-1B visa, which has an annual quota.
What are the O1 Visa Requirements?
To get an O1 Visa, there are 6 main requirements:
⦁ Prove that You Have an Extraordinary Ability
⦁ Your National or International Acclaim Must be Sustained
⦁ You Must Work in Your Field of Extraordinary Ability
⦁ Your Employment in the USA Must Qualify as an “Event”
⦁ Your Petition Must be Filed by a US Employer, US Agent, or Foreign Employer Through a US Agent
⦁ Must Have an Advisory Opinion from a Peer Group, Labor Organization, or Management Organization
What Documents are Needed to Apply for an O1 Visa?
⦁ The evidence you submit with your O1 Petition is crucial to getting your visa approved. The documents that you will need to submit depend on your particular qualifications. An immigration lawyer like myself can help you determine exactly which documents you will need to provide based on your particular case.
With that disclaimer, here is a general list of documents you should expect to provide to your immigration lawyer:
⦁ Your resume or CV
⦁ Copies of your passport for you and your family
⦁ Evidence of your extraordinary ability or history of extraordinary achievement (such as awards, publications, etc.)
⦁ Letters of recommendation and endorsement from experts and professionals in your field
⦁ Advisory Opinion from a Peer Group, Labor Organization, or Management Organization
⦁ The employment contract between you and your US employer/US agent or a breakdown of the terms of your employment.
⦁ An explanation of the specific work you will be doing in the United States.
If the beneficiary is applying for an O-1B visa, they may use 3 of the following types of evidence:
⦁ Testimonial from other experts or agencies in the field attesting to the beneficiary’s reputation
⦁ Proof demonstrating that the beneficiary has a history of taking on “lead, starring, or critical” roles for highly reputed organizations
⦁ Proof — such as box office receipts, title, ratings, or published material — demonstrating the beneficiary’s “major commercial or critically acclaimed successes.”
⦁ Documentary evidence — such as reviews, articles, or testimonials published in major publications — shows that the beneficiary has a national or international reputation for being extraordinary in their field.
⦁ Confirmation that the beneficiary has been paid large quantities of money to perform relevant services
⦁ Advertisements, reviews, publicity releases, endorsements, contracts, or publications showing that the beneficiary has participated (and will participate) as a star or leading figure in major “productions or events.”
How to Apply for an O1 Visa
Here’s a simplified breakdown of the process of getting an O1 Visa:
Step 1 – Hire an Immigration Lawyer
⦁ The O1 visa is an extremely complex visa category that requires experience and strategy.
⦁ Your immigration lawyer will walk you through the process step-by-step, conduct an in-depth consultation with you, and provide you with a detailed list of the documents they need to prepare your O1 visa petition.
Step 2 – Document Gathering
⦁ At this stage, you will gather all the necessary documentation identified by your immigration lawyer, including your awards, publications, other evidence of your extraordinary ability, and the documents identified in section 4 above.
Step 3 – File Form I-129 and O Supplement
⦁ Form I-129 is the Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker.
⦁ This is the Form your immigration lawyer will file to qualify you for an O1 visa.
⦁ Your immigration lawyer will also file the O-supplement along with the I-129
⦁ All of the supporting documents, such as your evidence of extraordinary ability, CV, etc., will also be included with the I-129
⦁ Once your I-129 is approved, you are eligible to apply for an O1 visa.
⦁ If you are doing a Change of Status, your steps are complete upon I-129 approval.
Step 4 – Apply for O1 Visa
⦁ If you are not doing a Change of Status, then you will likely be applying for your O1 visa at the Consulate of your home country.
⦁ Upon approval of your I-129, you are eligible to apply for your O1 visa.
⦁ Your immigration lawyer can assist you with scheduling an interview at the Consulate and preparing the necessary documents.
O-1 Visa to Green Card
⦁ The O-1 is very similar to the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card. However, it should be noted that the permanent residency option requires evidence of more sustained achievement.
⦁ If they don’t meet that standard, they may look at the EB-2 (Exceptional ability) or EB-3 Green Cards.
⦁ In the case of O2 visa holders (support personnel), they may be able to move to EB3 green card in certain circumstances.
An O1 visa is a great option for people who have extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, athletics, business, or education or who have a history of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. With an O1 visa, you can live and work in the United States for extended periods, and there is no limit to the number of times you can extend your O1 visa.
Please note: The process of getting an O1 visa is highly complex. Please be sure to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer like me as soon as possible. Based on your circumstances and qualifications, I will help you decide the best course of action.
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, schedule a consultation if you have specific questions, comment below if you want me to talk about something specific, and share this resource because you never know who needs answers to these questions. I’ll see you in the next video.