The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
This classification is designed for the small percentages of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.
The O classification is divided into three (3) categories:
- O-1A: refers to the sciences, education, business, or athletics fields;
- O-1B: refers to the arts or motion picture or television industries;
- O-2: refers to the individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.
O-1 Visas – General Requirements
To qualify for an O-1A or an O-1B visa:
- The visa applicant must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim; and
- The visa applicant must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; and
- The visa applicant must have an offer of employment from a petitioning employer.
O-2 Visa: Support Visa
The O-2 visa is available to support personnel of O-1 Visa holders in the fields of entertainment, athletics, the motion picture and television production industries.
To qualify for an O-2 visa:
- The visa applicant must establish his/her current essentiality and critical skills; and
- The visa applicant must establish that he/she has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1 visa holder.
O-1 and O-2 Visas – General Information
Period of Stay
The O classification has an initial period of stay of up to three (3) years and subsequent extensions be granted in increments of up to one (1) year. There is no limit to the number of extensions.
Family of O Visa Holders
The spouse and children under the age of 21 of an O visa holder are eligible to apply for an O-3 nonimmigrant visa, subject to the same period of admission as the O-1/O-2 worker. They are not eligible to work in the U.S., but they may engage in full or part time study.
Where the employment of an O nonimmigrant beneficiary is terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation, the employer must pay for the cost of the O visa holder’s return transportation.
Route to the Green Card
The O status is also considered a path to a green card through the EB-1(A) preference: Aliens of Extraordinary Ability or the EB-2(C) preference: National Interest Waiver petitions. (Click here for more information on EB-1(A) and EB-2(C).)
For more information about this visa category contact us today to schedule a professional consultation with an Immigration Attorney. Call (305) 515-VISA (8472) or click here.