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O-1 Visas for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

​Are you extraordinary in your field?

O-1 non-immigrant classification visas are visas for individuals that are recognized nationally or internationally for their unique and extraordinary abilities in either the sciences, business, athletics, arts, education, or have extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or the television industry.

​O-1 applicants have the option to apply for their spouse and children under the age of 21 to join them in the United States under the O non-immigrant category by applying for the O-3 visa. Individuals who are essential to the completion of the O-1 artist or athlete's performance and who have critical skills and experience with working with the applicant may apply for the O non-immigrant category by filing an O-2 visa. 

O-1 applications must be filed with the government by a United States employer, agent, or a foreign employer's agent in the US. Filing of the O-1 application must be done no less than one year before the applicants' services are needed. Applicants may be approved for O-1 up to three years. During that time their accompanying spouse or children may partake in full or part time study. ​

To qualify the applicant must demonstrate proof that they possess extraordinary ability and are at the top in their field. Applicants must also prove that they are coming to the United States to work temporarily in the field pertaining to their extraordinary ability. Each field has a different set of criteria that qualifies one as extraordinary in that field. Yet each field must be able to supply documentation such as an itinerary of events or activities that will take place, a copy of a contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary, and a written advisory opinion by a person with expertise in the applicants' field of ability. 

If approved and there is change in the employment eligibility terms and conditions or there is a change of employer, the employer or agent are obligated to file new forms with the changes. In cases where the employment is terminated and there was no voluntary resignation, the employer and or agent are obligated to pay for the return transportation of the O applicant to their initial residency before entering the United States. 

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Recent News

"The number of times people have entered the U.S. annually with this type of work permit, called the O-1 visa, nearly tripled in the past decade, with 83,000 entries in 2014.*

Many of these workers are renowned scientists and entrepreneurs. But the subcategory for artists—which is more flexible than other O-1 designations—has made it one of the most popular ways for foreign actors to break into Hollywood, or for dancers to perform on New York City stages. (This explains why 63 percent of O-1 visa holders end up in California or New York).".

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