O-1 Work Visa

An O-1 Visa is offered to those foreign individuals who show exemplary performance  in arts, business, athletics, education or sciences.

The O-1 Visa category also comes in two subcategories;

  • O-1A which is offered specifically to those foreign immigrants showing excellence in sciences, business, athletics and education
  • O-1B visa is offered specifically to those in the arts category showing excellence in any field of arts or television industry

Qualification for an O-1 Visa

To qualify for this visa, applicants must show proof that they are excellent performers with a sustained national or international credibility. Additionally they are traveling to the US for a temporary course of furthering their extraordinary abilities and skills.

If it’s in science, education, athletics or business, the applicant must show his/her expertise in either of the fields and must be one of the few who rose to the top of that field.

Besides those requirements, there are other items the applicant must present as proof of their acclaimed skills. It includes international or national prizes and awards. Moreover, they also need to provide a published material of their work, a membership to an association that only accepts excellent individuals,and proof of their original contributions to the science, business, or education field.

Validity period of the O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is valid for a period of 3 years in the US after which it expires and the foreigner is required to go back to the home country. However, one can also apply for an extension which can be valid for one more year. Moreover there is no limit to the number of extensions you can apply for; however the extension will only be granted when the US consulates validates the need for extensions if your employment in the US requires so.

Prior to your application, you will have to consult a professional organization or group which will gauge your skills and determine whether you qualify for the O-1 Visa. Once they approve you they can issue supporting documentation, which acknowledges that you have extraordinary abilities in a certain field.

O1 visa granted to people with extra-ordinary skills in sports, arts, business, education or science for which they are known nationally and internationally.

Requirements for obtaining O1-visa

The O1- visa applicant must demonstrate that he possesses extra-ordinary skills in one of the following areas: sport, art/film, business, education, science.

An individual with extra-ordinary ability is a person who has reached the very top in profession. Therefore the application must be supported by sufficient evidence that a person is to be known and famous in his field of profession. In addition, the applicant must attach a job offer and employment contract with intended U.S. employer and include the scope of the applicant’s duties.

O1 visa rules

O1- visa give the holder the right to live and work temporarily in the United States. O1 visa are usually granted for a maximum period of three (3) years and then can be extended. People who want to accompany O1-visa applicants may apply for O2-visa if their experience and skills are necessary to perform work of O1-visa applicant.

Spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age can apply for derivative visas in order to join spouse/ parent in the USA. Dependants are allowed to study in the United States, but they are not allowed to be employed without proper work visa.

Read more about O-1 work visa for people with extra-ordinary abilities here.

Additional resources

H1B work visa
H2B seasonal work visa
B1 in Lieu of H1B work visa

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