A common misconception about the O-1 Visa is that it is available only to athletes, actors, and entertainers. However, the visa is intended for “individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement” in virtually any profession, including business. If you have achieved widely recognized success in the business world and wish to take your talents to the world’s biggest economy, you may be eligible for the O-1. With the knowledge and expertise of Jurado & Farshchian immigration attorneys, you will vastly improve your chances of obtaining this crucial entryway to the U.S.
The Basics of the O-1 Visa
The O-1 is a nonimmigrant visa designed for foreign nationals who have made outstanding achievements in their field or profession. It is designed intended to attract the world’s best and brightest, which is why it requires applicants to meet an “extraordinary standard” qualification: documented proof that you are exceptional and widely recognized in the business world.
The O-1A Visa is made available to scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, and athletes, while the O-1B Visa for artists and entertainers in television and cinema. Additionally, the O Visa category includes supplementary visas, such as the O-2 Visa for individuals that play an “integral” role in the O-1 holder’s work, and the O-3 Visa for spouses and children for the O-1 holder.’
Bear in mind that applicants to the O-1 must have an American employer sponsor their application, so you must have an offer letter or other proof of a job lined up. Moreover, the O-1 must be relevant to the field in which you plan to work during your stay. If you are applying as a businessperson, your activities must be limited to business. Similarly, the evidence you submit to meet the “extraordinary standard” must pertain to your achievements in business,
Evidentiary Criteria for the O-1 Visa
Unlike comparable nonimmigrant visas for professionals, such as the H-1B, the O-1 has no annual cap, no wage maintenance feature, and no overall time limit. It does not even require a professional degree or certificate proving your qualification as a businessperson. As long as you have proof of your extraordinary abilities and achievements, you may quality. These evidentiary criteria set it apart from other visas and allow your accomplishments to speak for themselves.
You must provide at least three of the following pieces of evidence about your field, although more is always better.
- A national or international prize, award, or other formal recognition of excellence in your field
- Membership in an association in your field that requires outstanding achievement to join
- Coverage about your work or performance in a major media outlet related to your field
- Participation in a review panel that judged the work or performance of others in the same or similar field
- Original contributions of “major significance” in your field, such as an acting technique, research paper, or fashion design
- Published articles in professional journals or other major media
- Any previous or existing work in a prominent professional organization
- Proof that you command a high salary or other compensation for services related to your field
Moreover, the evidence must be clear, relevant, and of high quality. For example, a little-known prize is less likely to make the cut than a national or international award. Coverage about your business or your entrepreneurial achievements will carry more weight if it is by a major media outlet than a local newspaper. Additionally, you may have to provide further evidence that an award or recognition is prominent in your country, such as data on viewership or population.
Also keep in mind that while the minimum requirement is to present three of the criteria mentioned above, the more evidence you provide, the more likely you will be approved. Our attorneys will work with you to find the best possible proof for making your case.
Applying for the O-1 Visa
Unlike some other nonimmigrant visas, the application for the O-1 Visa is made not by the candidate, but by a sponsor filing on their behalf. Typically, this will be your U.S. employer or a foreign employer with a U.S. agent. Your sponsor is responsible for filling out and filing the requisite forms and documentation.
Once approved, you will be allowed an initial maximum stay of up to three years, with an indefinite number of one-year extensions based on how long you are needed to perform your business duties and activities with the petitioning employer.
Applying for the O-1 is no easy task, even for experienced employers or agents. Collecting the evidence is only half the battle, as you must also explain its relevance and ensure it is properly organized.
To better ensure no delay in your business aspirations in the U.S., turn to the firm that has dedicated years of professional service to helping accomplished foreigners across the world to get the Visa. To learn more, call me directly at 305-921-0440 or email me at Romy@jflawfirm.com to get started.