O visas: For “O”utstanding achievement or individuals with extra“O”rdinary ability

In certain cases, it is advantageous to apply for an O-1 visa rather than for another nonimmigrant employment-based visa

Individuals with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry should apply for O-1 nonimmigrant visas. The O nonimmigrant visa classifications are:

  • 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. The O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity while the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. Generally, the O-2 worker has “critical skills and experience” with the O-1 alien that are not of a general nature and that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker
  • O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the alien must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. “Extraordinary ability” in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise that establishes that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field. “Extraordinary ability” in the field of arts means distinction, including a high level of achievement in the field of the arts as demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that which is ordinarily encountered (i.e., someone who is described as prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts). To qualify for an O-visa in the motion picture or television industry, the alien must demonstrate “extraordinary achievement” as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition that is significantly above that which is ordinarily encountered (i.e., a person who is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture and/or television field).

Contributing Author

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Tina M. Maiolo

A member of Carr Maloney, P.C., Tina Maiolo partners with clients to operate and grow their businesses. She focuses her legal practice in...

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Contributing Author

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Suzanne E. Derr

Suzanne Derr of Carr Maloney focuses her practice on civil litigation, including matters of products liability, professional liability, and premises liability.

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