The O-1 (Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement) nonimmigrant visa is designed to let people with unique and exceptional abilities come into our country on something other than permanent residency.
The O-1 visa is used to allow a person of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including television and radio), education, business, or athletics to enter the United States. To qualify for an O-1 visa, it must be demonstrated that the individual has “extraordinary ability” in their particular field of expertise. If you have achieved an outstanding accomplishment recognized internationally and within your field then this may just be the opportunity for you!
There are two types of O-1 visas: –
- O-1A Visa – This visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.
- O-1B Visa – This visa is for those who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and/or television industry.
Eligibility Requirements for the O-1 Visa
To qualify for an O-1 visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- A contract with a US employer or agent is required for the O-1 visa. Self-petitioning for an O-1 visa is not permitted.
- You must be able to demonstrate your ability in the area of extraordinary achievement, either through past work experience or documentation of a one-time achievement.
- You must have at least three years of experience with your achievements in your field.
- The evidence you provide to establish eligibility for an O-1 visa must be nationally or internationally recognized as outstanding in your specific field of expertise.
- Your employer will need to show that it has made efforts to hire U.S. workers for similar positions before hiring you on an O-1 Visa.
- An O-1A visa is granted if you have received significant international recognition, while an O-1B visa is granted if you are a distinguished foreign national.
Read Also: H-3 Visa Trainee or Special Education Visitor
Additional Requirements & Restrictions:
- The petitioner must provide proof that they have made efforts to hire a qualified U.S worker before hiring a foreign national through the O-1 nonimmigrant visa category unless your experience and accomplishments show that such recruitment is not necessary or available to fill the position offered by your employer.
- You may only work with the petitioner through whom you were granted O-1 nonimmigrant status; however, you may substitute employers if the petitioner/employer is related by common ownership with another business.
Application Process and Documentation Required for the O-1 Visa
When applying for an O-1 visa, you and your employer must complete these steps:
- Your employer files a petition with the USCIS on your behalf.
- You file Form DS-160. This is the electronic application form that everyone who applies for a US visa has to file.
- You pay the O-1 visa fees.
- You schedule an appointment for a visa interview with the nearest US mission.
To make a strong petition for an O-1 visa, the following documentation should be submitted along with the form:
- Consultation: A consultation document is a written opinion from an organization with expertise in the applicant’s field of work. For example, if you are applying for an O-1 Visa and your area of extraordinary achievement lies within television or motion pictures then any petition should include issues raised by labor unions as well as management organizations that have knowledge about the beneficiary’s subject matter.
- Contract: A contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary must be submitted. If this agreement is oral then a summary of the terms of that agreement may also accompany it, filed with your petition form to show you have done everything in your power to finalize an arrangement before filing for visa eligibility.
- Itineraries: If you are in the process of applying for an O-1 visa, then it is important to lay down a detailed itinerary with all of your travel plans and schedules before submitting it. The point is that if you have any other intention than showing off your extraordinary ability or skills as set out by this type of US work permit application, then don’t bother filling one out because they will be denied access into America.
Timeline and Costs associated with obtaining the O-1 visa
Processing Time: The process of applying for your O-1 visa could take up to three months, but with Premium Processing you’ll have an answer in less than two weeks. It even comes at a $1500 price tag!
Processing Cost: The initial application fee for an employment-based O-1 nonimmigrant visa is $330, which includes a $220 Fraud Prevention and Detection fee.
There are additional fees for the O-1 Supplement A, which is required if you want to stay in the U.S. for longer than one year; this costs $3,750 for each additional year of an extension.
The total amount paid will vary depending on your salary as well as other factors.
Read Also: Q-1 Visa – Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program
Period of stay and Extension of stay
O-1 visas are granted for an initial period of up to three years. Extensions of stay may be requested, to continue or complete the same event or activity, you may be entitled to extend your stay in one-year increments.
Thus, an O-1 visa holder may stay in the U.S. for as long as s/he continues to qualify for a visa and is able to maintain his or her eligibility under the O-1 category.
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The O-1 Visa is an excellent way to enter the United States for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement. It has been called one of the most powerful visas in America, and it can be obtained by those who have achieved a level of distinction in their field that separates them from others working within this area.
If you are moving abroad or applying for any type of visa or green card application, or any other immigration benefit, you will be asked to submit several immigration documents including your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and bank statements, etc. If your documents are not in English, you are required to get certified translation services for immigration.
Our team of experts has successfully helped many people get their visas approved by working closely with them throughout the translation process. Contact us now to talk about how we can best serve your needs as a client while helping you secure this important visa opportunity that could change your life forever!”