An Overview of the O Visa Classification

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is available to individuals who possess “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of “extraordinary achievement” in the motion pictures or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. The individual must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement.

The O Classification visa is broken down into four categories:

  • O-1A: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics;
  • O-1B: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry;
  • O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance; and
  • O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s.

To demonstrate extraordinary ability in the O-1A category, an individual must demonstrate that he or she is one of the few elite individuals who have risen to the very top of their field. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means a high level of achievement in the field as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to such extent that the individual is described as renowned, leading, or well-known in the field.

To qualify for an O-1B visa for achievement in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement, as 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.

To apply for an O nonimmigrant visa, an individual must submit:

  • A written advisory opinion from a peer group, labor organization, or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability;
  • A copy of any written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed; and
  • An itinerary explaining the nature of the events or activities the individual will be attending or participating in, and the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities.

Proving eligibility for an O nonimmigrant visa can be an arduous task. The burden of demonstrating “extraordinary ability” in a given area can be difficult and an experienced immigration attorney should be consulted by individuals who wish to pursue this visa and believe that they meet the criteria.

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Attorneys dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (703) 952-3275, or fill out our contact form.

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