Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O-1)

What is an O-1 Visa: Complete Guide

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is designated for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Similarly, individuals who had a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for these requirements are also eligible for O-1 visa.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the foreign national is one of the small percentage who has arisen to the very top of the field. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction which in turn means a high level of achievement in the field of arts. This can be documented by a degree of skill and recognition above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent the foreign national is prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts. Extraordinary ability in motion picture or television industry is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above the ordinarily encountered, to the extent that the foreign national is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

O-1 Procedure & Requirements

  • A U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent must file the O-1 on behalf of the foreign national.
  • A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organization) or a person with expertise in the foreign national’s area of ability must be included with the O-1 petition.
  • O-1 for an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the foreign national’s area of ability.
  • There is no minimum educational requirement for O-1.
  • There is no LCA requirement for filing O visa hence there is no prevailing wage issue.
  • The petitioner can expedite the O-1 process so that the initial determination is made within 10-15 calendar days by requesting premium processing for an additional fee to the US Citizenship & Immigration Services.

Related Issues

  • The petitioner is required to provide an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates of the events or activities and copy of any itinerary for the events or activities.
  • The spouse and unmarried child(ren) below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany / join the foreign national in O-3 status, however they are not allowed to work in the United States unless they qualify for a work visa.

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