O-1 Visa

O1 Visa Details

The O-1 visa is designated for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. The O-1 visa is suitable for artists, athletes, entertainers, high-end culinary chefs and business executives/entrepreneurs who otherwise do not possess academic diplomas. There is no prevailing wage requirement for this category and the O-1 visa may be extended indefinitely. There is no numerical limit to the number of O-1 visas issued each year.

The O-1 visa is a good option for J-1 visa holders who are subject to INA §212(e) and have not obtained a waiver. The J-1 visa holder can apply for an O1 visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada or Mexico, if he’she does not wish to travel back home and apply in the home country.

Scientists, educators, business persons and athletes who wish to qualify for the visa must show three (3) of the following in the list below:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;

  • Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;

  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;

  • Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization;

  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;

  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media;

  • Current or previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or,

  • Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Artists and Entertainers (except TV or movie stars) who wish to qualify for the visa must show three (3) of the following from the list below:

  • as performed/will perform services as a lead/starring participant in productions/events with distinguished reputations as shown by critical reviews, ads, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;

  • National/international recognition for achievement through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals/magazines, etc.;

  • Has performed in a lead, starring or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;

  • Has record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;

  • Has achieved significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, recognized experts;

  • Has commanded or will command a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.

Artists and Entertainers in connection with TV or Movies who wish to qualify for the visa must show a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field.

Spouses and children of the O1 visa holder may obtain an O-3 visa to enter and remain in the US. The O3 visa holder may attend school but if he or she wishes to work, he or she must change his or her status to obtain a work visa.

For whom is an O1 Visa appropriate?

Foreign nationals who have received major prizes or awards or other recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of arts, sciences, education, business or athletics AND with a job offer from a US. company

What are the requirements for obtaining an O1 Visa?

An O1 classification applies to:

1.An individual alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; or
2.An alien who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and/or television productions and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary achievement.


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