The O-1 Visa, or the Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is available for individuals who have an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, athletics, business, or the arts. It is also available for individuals who have certified that they have an extraordinary ability in either the film or television industry and have been recognized either nationally or internationally for their achievements in the field.
Within the O-1 Visa category, there are four subcategories:
- O-1A: Those who possess an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics.
- O-1B: Those who possess an extraordinary ability in the arts or who have demonstrated that they have an extraordinary ability in film or television industries and have received recognition for their achievements.
- O-2: Those who will accompany the O-1 applicant, such as an athlete or artist, and will assist the individual in a performance that pertains to the O-1 applicant’s field. O-2 applicants must serve as a vital part in the role that the O-1A applicant is performing; this individual will possess vital skills and experience with the O-1 that a US worker is unable to perform.
- O-3: The spouses and children of O-1 and O-2 applicants.
The O-1 Visa is temporary, so it does not grant those who hold it access to citizenship; but, the O-1 Visa can be extended an unlimited amount of times. Full O-1 Visa requirements can be found here.
O-1 Visa Requirements
Foreign applicants who are applying for the O-1 Visa must meet 6 main requirements:
- Applicants must demonstrate an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, business, education, or athletics.
- Applicants must demonstrate an extraordinary ability in the fields of film or television.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate their excellence (a national or international award, for example).
- Applicants must be working in a field in the US that is directly related to the field that they possess extraordinary abilities in.
- An advisory opinion must be issued by a peer group, labor, or management organization for the applicant.
The total costs of the O-1 Visa will vary and are dependent on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the applicant’s country of origin.
Applicants can expect to pay for one or more of the following:
- USCIS Form I-129 filing fee
- USCIS Form I-539 filing fee for O-3 applicants
- DS-160 filing fee
- Attorney fees
The process of applying for an O-1 Visa is as follows:
- Submission of Form I-129 with the USCIS.
- Upon approval of Form I-129, form DS-160 must be filed with the Department of State.
- Applicants must attend an interview with the US embassy or consulate in their country of origin.