Extraordinary Visa Option for the Best of the Best
The O-1 visa is a temporary worker visa given to individuals with extraordinary ability. It is further broken down into two categories. There is the O-1A visa for those with extraordinary abilities in athletics, business, education, and sciences. Then, there is O-1B for those with extraordinary achievements in arts, motion pictures, or television.
With this visa, foreign nationals can be granted admission to the US for up to three years. After the initial three years, extensions can be granted in one-year increments, and there is no limit to the total number of extensions that can be granted.
Who is eligible for the O-1 visa?
* Applicants must show their extraordinary ability with continuous national or international acclaim and must be entering the United States for the purpose of working in this area.
* For the fields of athletics, business, education, and science: Extraordinary ability is proven by a level of expertise that proves that this individual is in the small percentage of top experts in his or her field.
* For the fields of the arts: Extraordinary ability is proven by distinction evidenced by an above average skill and notoriety as a prominent and well-known individual in the respective field.
* For Motion Picture/Television: Extraordinary ability is proven by skill and recognition as someone leading or notable in the Motion Picture and/or Television industries.
Evidence of extraordinary ability
For O-1A visa, the evidence criterion is a major internationally recognized award like the Nobel Prize. Alternatively, one can proved extraordinary ability with a combination of three or more of the secondary criteria:
* Receipt of nationally/internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field.
* Membership in exclusive associations that require outstanding achievements in the field.
* Published material in professional or major publications in the field.
* Significant original contributions in the field.
* Authorship of scholarly articles in the field.
* A high remuneration or salary.
* Participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or related field.
* Employment in a crucial role for organizations with a distinguished reputation.
For O-1B the evidence criterion is the receipt or nomination for a significant national or international award such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least three or more of the following:
* Lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation.
* National or international recognition.
* Lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
* Record of major successes either commercially or critically-acclaimed.
* Significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field.
* High salary for services
As part of the application process, the individual must be able submit the completed I-129 form, the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, between 45 to 365 days prior to the date of employment.
Along with the I-129 form, the applicant must obtain certain documentation including:
* A written advisory opinion referred to as “consultation”. This must be issued from a peer group or labor organization (or person designated by such a group or organization) with expertise in the applicant’s area of extraordinary ability. (Note: A waiver of this requirement is possible if such a group does not exist or if an O-1 applicant is applying for readmission in the arts within two years of submitting a previous consultation.)
* A written contract between the beneficiary and the petitioner specifying the terms of the employment and indicating what the employer and what offered was accepted by the employee. Oral contracts are acceptable if evidence can be provided.
* Itinerary that explains the events/activities, start and end dates, and copies of any other itineraries related to the events/activities.
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