O-1 Visas for Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

About Applications for O-1 Visas 

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is intended for foreign applicants who possess extraordinary skills in arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics, or who have a solid track record  of extraordinary performance in the motion picture and television industry and have been identified and acknowledged domestically and internationally for their excellence.

The O visas have different types:

  • O-1A Visa – is reserved for people who have extraordinary skills in sciences, business, education, or athletics.

  • O-1B Visa  – is intended for people with extraordinary skills in arts or extraordinary achievements in television or motion picture industry.

  • O-2 Visa – is given to people who will assist and accompany an O-1 visa holder, artists, or athlete to carry out the contemplated performance in the United States.

  • O-3 Visa – is provided to the spouse or children of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder.

Application Procedure for O-1 Visa

  1. Filing of a petition form for nonimmigrant worker with the USCIS office in no more than one year before the actual performance or the need for a foreign national to render a service.

  2. It may be filed at least 45 days prior to the date when an alien is going to perform or render a service.

Documents needed

In order to prove the claim in a petition for nonimmigrant worker, the following pieces of evidence must be submitted along with the petition form:

  1. Consultation – Written opinion from a contemporary group, which may include labor organizations, with competence in the applicant’s area of expertise. If the petition for an O-1 visa is for the benefit of a person possessing  extraordinary achievement in television or motion picture industry, the consultation should be issued by an appropriate labor union and a management organization with adept knowledge in beneficiary’s area of expertise.

    1. Exception – a consultation requirement will not be required in the following instances:

      1. If a peer group or a labor organization with expertise in the area of beneficiary’s ability does not exist.

      2. If the beneficiary alien is only seeking a readmission to the US within two years from previous consultation to perform the same services. A waiver request and a copy of the previous consultation must be submitted by the petitioners.

  1. Contract – The contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary must be submitted. If the agreement is oral, a summary of the terms of oral agreement may be filed together with the petition form.

    1. For purposes of proving an oral agreement, you may submit:

      1. Emails between the contracting parties.

      2. Written summary of the terms of the contract.

      3. Other proof that an oral agreement has taken place.

    2. The Summary of Oral Agreement should include:

      1. What was offered by the employer in the US.

      2. What was accepted by the employee or beneficiary.

      3. The summary does not have to be signed by both parties because it suffices that the terms of the offer and acceptance are included.

  1. Itineraries – This lay down the travel plan, schedule, agenda, timetable, and other programs included in your travel within the period of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States. The series of events must be pointing toward the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability.

While the procedures for O visas appear uncomplicated, some employers choose to petition a foreign national of extraordinary ability without seeking any help from an immigration lawyer. Thinking that they can do it themselves, they tend to make mistake in the process and end up with application refusal. At the end of the day, they will realize how much valuable the services of an experienced immigration lawyer is.

The documentations and processes involved in successfully obtaining an O-visa for a foreign beneficiary are complex and demand legal expertise that will go beyond than just collecting and submitting documents.

Niren and Associates, a firm with offices in Canada and across the United States, have been practicing US and Canadian immigration law for decades, and have helped countless foreign nationals with extraordinary skills get admitted to the United States. Our team of expert immigration lawyers can be reached at 1-866-929-0991 or through their official email address, [email protected].