The United States has long been a destination for artists, musicians, athletes, and other exceptional individuals from around the world. The O-1 Visa class was specifically designed to give those with an “extraordinary ability” a relatively fast and easy way to temporarily pursue their work in the country.
If the term “extraordinary ability” sounds a bit too vague and broad, that is precisely what makes the O-1 Visa is such a popular and versatile option for nonimmigrant workers. Along with Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, applicants can submit a variety of documentation of their achievements, such as a reputable national or international award, membership in noteworthy organizations, participation in major industry events (such as film festival, convention, or conference), or works featured in prominent media outlets. Candidates can also provide a “written consultation” or testimonial from a relevant “peer group” – such as a trade organization, labor union, or industry association – created or signed by a prominent authority of the qualifying group.
The O-1 Visa falls under two subcategories:
O-1A – The most common kind of O-1 Visa, pertaining to those who have made considerable achievements in the areas of science, education, business, or athletics.
O-1B – This applies to extraordinary accomplishments in arts, cinema, or television, none of which are covered by the O-1A.
Moreover, there are two other associated “O Visas” that may be relevant to the O-1 Visa applicant:
O-2 – Available to individuals who serve an “essential” or “integral” part in the activities of O-1 applicants.
O-3 – Provided to the spouse or children O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
To understand the distinction between these categories, consider the following an example: a Nobel Prize-winning scholar pursuing academic research in the U.S. would seek to obtain the O-1A Visa, while a foreign actor starring in a Hollywood film would apply for an O-1B Visa. The scholar’s research assistant or actor’s acting coach can each qualify for an O-2 Visa. Any spouse or child of either the scholar or the actor can apply for an O-3 Visa to legally live and study (but not work) in the U.S. for the duration of the O-1 Visa.
Both the O-1A and O-1B Visa can initially be granted for up to three years, with an indefinite number of extensions granted in increments of one year, provided the applicant (or their employer or agent) completes another Form I-129 with an explanation of the extension. O-1 workers already in the U.S. wishing to change employers must have their new employer or agent file another Form I-129 with the USCIS.
Preparing all the necessary paperwork, documentation, and petitions involved in acquiring any of the O Visas can be expensive and time consuming, especially for foreigners unfamiliar with the complexities and nuances of U.S. immigration law. Jurado & Farshchian employ qualified O-1 Visa Attorneys who are well versed in the latest developments and requirements of the complicated U.S. visa process. They’ve successfully helped clients from around the world qualify for the visas they need to fulfill their personal and professional goals in the U.S., and can provide guidance on which visas and options are available or most practical.
If you’re a talented individual with big aspirations in the U.S., or an employer who needs their talented employees to do work domestically, contact our firm at 305-921-0440 or email@example.com.