O-1 Visa

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The O-1 visa is a temporary work visa for “aliens of extraordinary ability.” This visa is appropriate for successful people who have to show a track record of success in the arts (O-1B), in the sciences, business, education and athletics (O-1A), or in motion pictures and television (O-1B). It is important to note that this visa category covers almost any field, as long as you can show through evidence that you have achieved a level of success and recognition in your field beyond the ordinary. Our lawyers based in New York have extensive experience with this visa category and have successfully guided individuals in all areas with successful applications.

USCIS provides three different standards for the three categories of O-1 visas. The most difficult standard to meet is the standard for extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business and athletics. A second is for extraordinary ability in the arts, and a third is for extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry.

The kind of evidence required to meet the above standards are set forth through specific categories of evidence. This includes proof of either a major, recognized international award, such as an Academy Award or a Nobel Prize, or at least three types of other evidence. This includes evidence of lesser awards, press on yourself and of your work, your own publications, public speaking events, and a high level of pay.

The O1 Visa offers several benefits over other U.S visas. For example, the O1 visa is valid for 3 years, and renewed indefinitely. Moreover, one can work for more than one employer. The employers can be in New York or elsewhere in the United States.

Business, Science, Education or Athletics – O1A

Extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics requires one to how a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor. The individual must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievement in the field of endeavor, by providing evidence of:

  1. Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel prize.
  2. At least three of the following:
    * Nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
    * Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts.
    * Published material in professional or trade publications or major media about the alien, relating to the alien’s work in the field (including title, date, author and name of the publication, with translation if original is not in English).
    * Evidence of participation, on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same field or an allied field of specialization.
    * Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of major significance to the field of endeavor.
    * Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals, or articles by the alien in major media (including title, date, author and name of the publication, with translation if original is not in English).
    * Evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations that have a distinguished reputation.
    * Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other remuneration for services.
  3. If the above criteria do not readily apply to the occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence to establish eligibility.

The Arts – O1B

Extraordinary ability in the arts means distinction. The individual’s prominence in the field of endeavor must be demonstrated by:

  1. Receipt of, or nomination for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the field, such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy or Director’s Guild Award.
  2. At least three of the following:
    * Evidence of past or prospective services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, press releases, contracts or endorsements.
    * Evidence of national or international recognition in critical reviews by or about the individual in major media.
    * Evidence of past or prospective services in a lead, starring or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by press coverage and testimonials.
    * A record of major commercial or critical success, evidenced by title, rating, box office receipts, or other occupational achievements reported in trade press or major media.
    * Evidence of significant recognition from critics, organizations, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field. Testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien’s achievements.
    * Evidence of a high salary or other substantial compensation for services, in relation to others in the field.