Extraordinary Ability: The O-Visa | O - Visa immigration Lawyer

A foreign national of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics may be eligible to apply for an O-1 Visa. Other O-Visas are available for those accompanying the O-1 visa recipient. These three categories of O-Visas are divided as follows:

  1. O-1 Visas: Aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
  2. O-2 Visas: an artist's or athlete's support staff; or
  3. O-3 Visas: the O-1's spouse and/or children.

O-Visas are available for extraordinary ability. If you have extraordinary ability and would like to speak with an immigration lawyer for help with an O-1 Visa, or for help obtaining an O-2 Visa or O-3 visa for your support staff, spouse, or children, contact a US immigration attorney today.

Criteria for Obtaining an O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Ability: Who has "Extraordinary Ability"?

There are strict criteria in order to be considered for an O-Visa for extraordinary ability. For example, to qualify for an O-1 visa, the applicant must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim. This applicant must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of their extraordinary ability.

On the other hand, extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics is quite different. In this context, extraordinary ability refers to a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

Additionally, extraordinary ability in the field of arts is only ascribed to those artists who are regarded with "distinction." Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts, evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered.  This only occurs when the artist is prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement, evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Who must apply for the Visa?

The United States employer, not the foreign applicant, national must be the one to initiate the O-visa petition.

What kind of documentation is required?

The U.S. employer must file the O-visa petition with the following documents:

  • a written advisory opinion, describing the alien's ability;
  • a copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien (or a summary of the oral agreement); and
  • evidence that the alien has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in that particular field.

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