O-1 Visa – Overview
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the employee/performer must be considered to be among the top in his/her field, must be highly talented and demonstrate sustained national or international recognition and acclaim. The standard defining "extraordinary" varies dependent upon the area in which the beneficiary will perform services. For example, there is a lower standard for artisans and entertainers.
Nomination or receipt of a Nobel Prize type award is a sure eligibility standard. However, the USCIS will also accept comparable evidence. An O-1 visa holder can remain in the United States for the period of time the "event" (s)he is entering the United States to attend is ongoing. In fact, nomination for any major award in one’s field can be used to demonstrate O-1 eligibility provided it shows that the individual has risen to the very to of his or her field of endeavor. For instance, a carpet buyer with extraordinary knowledge about 16th century Persian carpets and a contract with the Smithsonian may qualify.
Support personnel of entertainers and athletes also may enter the U.S. on an O-2 visa. However, the O-2 recipient must meet a very exacting standard. Support personnel must be able to prove that they are an "integral part" of the performance and that they possess "critical skills and experience" specific and of a personal nature with the principal O-1 foreign national.
How do I know I qualify for an O-1 Visa?
As a preliminary step, our Office will review your resume and assess your chances of success with an O-1 visa. Depending on the amount of time and effort required to make a determination, our Office will undertake to do this for a small administrative fee.
How long will it take to put together an O-1 Visa Petition?
The O-1 Visa typically requires extensive research and documentation and predicting a time line is difficult. However, in most situations, we can provide you with a ballpark timeline at the time of the evaluation.