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O-1 Visa – Individual of Extraordinary Ability

O-1 Visa – Individual of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that requires outstanding achievements and is intended for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have demonstrated a record of outstanding achievements in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

O-1A status is specifically designated for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that you are one of the small percentages who have risen to the very top of the field.

The O-1B status  is specifically designated for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or motion pictures and television productions. With respect to arts, the individual must have sustained national or international acclaim and has achieved distinction in the field of arts. For those in motion pictures and television productions, the individual must have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement.

Who Qualifies for an 0-1 Visa

To be approved for O-1 status, you must prove your extraordinary ability in one of the above-mentioned fields, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim; and be seeking to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Applying for a O-1 Visa with US Immigration Law Professionals

The team of US immigration lawyers at Guberman // Appleby Immigration Lawyers are here to guide you through every step of the process. Work with experts on immigration law; contact us today.

O-1 Visa FAQ

The O-1 visa is a US non-immigrant visa designed for individuals possessing extraordinary ability in specifically designated fields. This enables successful applicants to work in their area of expertise in the US. There are two O-1 visa categories, O-1A for individuals with extraordinary ability in sciences, education, business, or athletics, and O-1B for individuals with extraordinary ability in the fine arts or in major media (motion pictures, television, and others).

Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate outstanding achievements in their field of expertise which set them apart within their industry. Applicants must prove their ability by providing evidence of awards for excellence, evidence of an internationally recognized prize, published material about their work, contributions of major significance in their field, professional or major trade articles, commands a high salary, and various other industry-specific criteria. 

The O-1 visa is classified as a non-immigrant visa, meaning that it allows for a temporary stay in the US for a predetermined period of time to work in a designated field of expertise. 

There is a multi-step process that must be completed to obtain an O-1 visa. First, applicants must gather the necessary documentation in order to prove their extraordinary ability. Next, you need to secure a sponsor before you can submit a petition to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service). 

The first step is to determine if you are eligible for an O-1 visa. Qualified candidates must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability with documented evidence, such as major trade publications about their work or evidence of past work at organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation. You also must possess a job offer or contractual agreement with an American employer or  agent who is willing to sponsor your application. You then need to gather an extensive record of documentation  including awards, accolades, recognition, published articles, evidence of original contributions, high salary, and other achievements relevant to your field. Your sponsor will then file an I-129 nonimmigrant petition to USCIS on your behalf, which must include all of the documentation proving your abilities.  Prior to submitting the application to USCIS, it is also necessary to obtain a peer group consultation or concurrency from a related union or professional association.

The filing fee for an O1 visa application is $460, as of 2023. Premium processing is available for an additional fee of $2,500, which guarantees a  response from USCIS within 15 calendar days. If the O1 visa application is approved, there is an additional $220 fee for the visa appointment. All O-1 status applicants, aside from Canadian citizens are required to attend at a Visa Appointment with their Approval Notice in order to receive an O-1 visa in their passport. Canadians are permitted to present their Approval Notice directly at the port of entry.

Yes an individual with O-1 status can apply to become a US Green Card holder (permanent resident status) in the US. There are several different ways that O-1 visa holders can permanently immigrate to the US. The US Immigration lawyers at Guberman // Appleby Immigration Lawyers would be happy to discuss these options. Contact us to book a consultation