The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, or temporary visa, that allows individuals to come to the US to work. This visa type mirrors the EB-1A, which is an immigrant or permanent visa. The O-1 requires an employer to sponsor him or her. Because of this sponsorship, the individual must work for only that employer. The O-1 visa is divided up into 2 different types: O-1A and O-1B. To get the O-1A visa requires the individual to have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. To get the O-1B visa requires the individual to demonstrate extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

For the O-1A, to demonstrate extraordinary ability, the individual needs to meet at least 3 of the following:

  • Receipt of a nationally or internationally recognized prize or award
  • Membership in an association in the field for which the association requires outstanding achievement to join
  • Published material about the individual and his or her work
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance
  • Authorship of scholarly articles that are published in professional journals
  • A high salary as compared to others in the field
  • Judging the work of others in the field
  • Acting in a critical or essential role for an organization that has a distinguished reputation.

For the O-1B, the individual could have received or have been nominated for a major award, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or Director’s Guild Award, or to demonstrate extraordinary achievement, the individual must meet at least 3 of the following:

  • Performed and will perform in a leading or starring role in events that have a distinguished reputation
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field
  • A high salary in relation to others in the field

After meeting all this and gathering all the documents, the individual must then obtain an advisory opinion from a peer group or labor organization. This group or organization will review the individual’s body of work and recognition in the field and will write a letter indicating the individual possesses extraordinary ability or achievements in the field.

The benefit of the O-1 visa type is the ability to bring support staff under the O-2 visa and family members under the O-3 visa.

This visa type is very nuanced and requires experience. Please contact us to let us help with the process.