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O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is for persons of extraordinary ability. The visa enables people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture or television industry to enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time.

O-1 Visa Eligibility and Requirements

To be considered a person of extraordinary ability, the employee should be considered to be at the top of their field, and can only work in the US in that area of expertise. Only U.S. employers and agents can petition for O-1/O-2 visas. O-1 foreign nationals cannot petition on their own behalf.

Extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics is “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” The petitioner must prove “extraordinary ability” by providing evidence either of the beneficiary’s receipt of a “major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize,” or documentation of at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;
  • Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national experts;
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;
  • Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media;
  • Current or previous employment in critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
  • Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Authorization Period, Extensions, and Restrictions

O-1 status can be granted initially for up to three years, depending on the length of the employment event which requires the foreign national’s services. Although O-1 status can be extended, extensions are generally only granted in one-year increments.

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the US under O-3 status. Although they may not work while in the U.S., family members are allowed to attend school.

O-2 Visa

O-2 visas are offered to support personnel of O-1 Visa holders in the fields of athletics, entertainment, motion picture and television production. This status is not applicable to personnel in the sciences, business or education.

The spouse and unmarried children of O-2 visa holders under the age of 21 are permitted to accompany them to the United States, under O-3 status. The petitioner should file a petition on their behalf. Their dependents must prove immediate relation. Though they are not allowed to work while in the U.S., dependents may attend school or college.

O Visas
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Authorization Period, Extensions, and Restrictions

The O-2 accompanying person visa category is unavailable for persons seeking to accompany O-1 scientists, educators, or business people. O-2 aliens cannot work separately and apart from the O-1 foreign national in question and “must be petitioned for in conjunction with the services of the O-1 alien.” The basic criteria for obtaining O-2 status are: the beneficiary has critical skills and experience that are not of a general nature that cannot be performed by other individuals (For motion picture or TV productions, the beneficiary has skills that are not general, which are critical and which are based upon a pre-existing long-standing working relationship. In the case of a specific production, a long-standing relationship is unnecessary where there is significant post or pre-production work that will take place inside and outside of the U.S. and the individual’s presence is needed for successful completion).

Premium Processing of O Visas

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services offers a premium processing service that allows employers or employees to pay a $1,430.00 premium-processing fee (in addition to regular filing fees) for expedited processing of their O-1/O-2 petitions. In return for the $1,430.00 fee, the USCIS will guarantee processing of petitions within 15 calendar days of receipt of the petition. Applications filed concurrently by dependents of a beneficiary choosing to use the Premium Processing Service will also be processed within 15 days without an additional $1,430.00 processing fee. If the USCIS does not issue an approval notice, notice of intent to deny, request for evidence, or notice of investigation for fraud or misrepresentation within 15 days of physical receipt of a petition, the Service will refund the $1,430.00 fee but will still expeditiously process the case.

Contact an O Visa Immigration Attorney

Our lawyers and staff at The Shapiro Law Group are confident in our ability to assist you in seeking the O visa that you require. Contact us online or call us at (847) 564-0712. We will return your phone call or contact as soon as possible and arrange a consultation when it best suits your schedule.