The O-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, who have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. To be eligible for an O-1 visa, the individual must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue to work in the area of extraordinary ability.
O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa status is reserved for those who are in a small percentage of experts that have risen to the top of their field. United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) determines whether an individual qualifies for an O-1 classification. The O-1 is a complicated visa category subject to high levels of scrutiny by USCIS. As such, the petition submitted to USCIS requires a substantial amount of evidence. The O-1 visa processing time can vary depending on each application.
Per the O-1 regulations, individuals must document their sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing evidence of:
The following documents are typically required to demonstrate that an individual satisfies the above-mentioned categories:
Part of the criteria for the O-1 work visa is demonstrating sustained national or international acclaim. As such, to the extent possible, the evidence listed above should include national or international significance. For example, publications or review work done for an internationally circulated high-impact journal should be highlighted. Presentations at national or international conferences, documentation of international citations, and recommenders who are working internationally also help support documenting sustained national or international acclaim.
The O-1 visa is employer specific which means that the individual must work in the position and for the employer listed on the O-1 petition submitted to USCIS. The O-1 visa can be requested for an initial period of three years, and may be extended indefinitely in one year increments.
Dependent spouses and children of an O-1 visa holder are eligible for O-3 visa status. Individuals in O-3 status are not permitted to work in the U.S. but are able to study either full-time or part-time for the duration of their O-3 status.
You do not have to represent yourself or rely on an employer’s legal representation to advance your O-1 visa application. Ellen Freeman and her team of legal experts are here to assist you in obtaining an O-1 visa and extending it as you advance your career. Give us a call or submit a consultation request through the contact form below.