Alien with Extraordinary Ability
What is O visa?
The O-1A visa is for applicants who have "extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim" as provided in 8 C.F.R. 214.2(o). An applicant therefore must prove that he or she has achieved a high level of success as required in the regulations.
The O-1B visa is for applicants who are in the business of motion picture or TV production, and must have "a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement". An applicant therefore must therefore also prove that he or she has achieved a high level of success in the fields of motion picture or TV production.
The O-2 visa is for person to accompany and to assist O-1 applicants in the United States in the O-1 visa holder’s artistic or athletic performances.
The O-3 visa is for spouse and children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders to accompany in the U.S.
Who can apply for O visa?
An applicant of O-1 or O-2 visas must show that he or she is prominent in his or her field by being nominated or is the recipient of significant nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards such as Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or by providing proof of at least three of the following:
• Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;
• There is significant recognition of the applicant’s work from professional or major trade publications, major media, or other recognized experts in the field;
• Being a member in a group or association which requires outstanding achievements of its members as nationally or internationally recognized experts in their fields;
• Leading role in productions that have a distinguished reputation;
• Leading role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
• Command a high salary for the performances.
Benefits of O visa:
• O-1 visa artists and athletes can use O-1 visa to perform in the U.S. for the events or activities approved by the USCIS.
• O-1 visa holders can travel freely in and out of the U.S. during the term of the visa.
• O-2 visa provides channel for essential supporting personnel of O-1 holder.
• Apply for O-3 visas for accompanying dependents.
• If qualified, may apply for permanent residence under Employment Immigration first preference while in O status.
How to apply for O visa?
• If you are not in the United States at this time, the employer should use form I-129 to file O-1 petition with the USCIS; and then the O-1 visa applicant should use forms DS-156 and DS-157 to apply the O-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate office.
• If you are currently in the United States and in a status other than O-1, your employer should use form I-129 to petition for the H-1b status for you. Your spouse and children should use form I-539 to apply for O-3 status.
• If you are already in the United States and in the O-1 status and wish to extend the period of stay, your employer should use form I-129 to apply for the O-1 extension for you. Your spouse and children should use form I-539 to apply for O-3 status extension.