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O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

A variety of conditions must be met by O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa recipients. Our immigration lawyers can help you determine whether or not you qualify.

O-1 classification may be granted to individuals who are exceptional in science, arts, education, business, or athletics. This category includes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in their field and have been internationally recognized for their talents.

A variety of conditions must be met by O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa recipients

Although the O visa is for temporary employment, it can be renewed if the talents continued to be required. Accompanists or assistants may be granted an O-2 visa as long as the accompanist or assistant is an integral part of the event, and the accompanist or assistant has special ability and experience that cannot be duplicated by anyone else. For O visa holders, a foreign residence is required which the applicant has no intent to abandon.

The O-1’s ability must be such that he/she is one of a small percentage that has risen to the top of the profession or a high level of achievement substantially greater than ordinarily encountered. For the performing arts, proof that the artist is prominent in the field is sufficient.

O-1 visas can be broken down into four categories:

  • O-1A visa holders
  • O-1B visa holders
  • O-2 visa holders
  • O-3 visa holders

O-1A individuals have extraordinary skills in science, education, business, or athletics. O-1A is not granted to those who have achieved success in the motion picture, television, and arts industries.

O-1B people are people with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievements in television or the motion picture industry.

O-2 visa holders may accompany O-1 athletes or artists. O-2 visa holders can accompany O-1A visa holders if they are essential to the O-1A production. O-2 visa holders must be designated “essential” for the O-1B production if they are successful in the television or motion picture industry. O-3 refers to the spouse or children (O-1, O-2).

Do I qualify for an O-1 visa?

You must fulfill a number of requirements in order to be granted an O-1 visa. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS) requires that you have demonstrated exemplary ability through sustained national or international recognition and that you are currently in the United States to continue your work in the field.

Proof required for outstanding ability

Major internationally recognized awards would be enough or fulfilling at least three of the criteria below:

  1. A nationally or internationally recognized award;
  2. Membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement;
  3. Published materials about the applicant in professional or major trade publications;
  4. Nomination to judge the work of others in the field of endeavor;
  5. Original scientific or scholarly works of major significance in the field;
  6. Authorship of scholarly work;
  7. Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity with an organization with a distinguished reputation;
  8. Earning a high salary in relation to others in the field.

Proof required for the arts

Nomination for an international or national award or prize or for showing the applicant qualifies for at least three of the criteria below:

  1. Having a lead part in a distinguished production;
  2. Critical reviews in prominent newspapers or trade journals;
  3. A major position in an organization that has a distinguished reputation;
  4. A record of a major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
  5. Significant recognition from an organization, critics, or other recognized experts in the field;
  6. Earning a high salary

Alternative evidence

In the arts, science, education, business, or athletics, comparable evidence may serve if the aforementioned criteria do not readily apply in the occupation for which the applicant is applying.

Advisory opinions

Advisory opinions from appropriate unions, if one exists, describing the beneficiary’s ability and achievements in the field for the duties are required, or if no union exists, then from any expert source.

We assist you with your O-1 visa


We assist you with your O-1 visa

You must first file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers, to apply for an O-1 Visa. This petition must be filed no more than one year prior to your intended arrival in the United States.

If the work will be in different places an itinerary must be provided. If there will be several employers, each employer must file although if there is an agent, the agent may file for all. The period of the authorized stay will be issued for the time needed for the event but in no case for more than three years. Extensions in increments of one year may be allowed.

Oltarsh & Associates can help you with your O-1 visa. It is crucial that you have an immigration lawyer on your side during this process due to all the possible legal complications. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (212) 944-9420.