O-1 Visa for Individuals of Extraordinary ability

There are various employment visa options for people who wish to be employed in the U.S and for those who are looking to employ immigrants. H-1B visa is the most utilized employment visa in the U.S. O-visa is also an employment-based visa that is often overlooked but serves a similar purpose. Those who possess extraordinary abilities with a job offer from a U.S. employer may qualify for a O-visa. 

An O-1Visa is a temporary work visa granted by the USCIS to such people who possess extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (or)to those who demonstrate a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. 

An O-1 visa is a dual intent visa which means that one neither needs to show the existence of a foreign home nor show the intent of returning back to the home country.

There are three types of O visas:

  • 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 a motion picture or television industry.
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1 (Generally Assistants)
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s

Qualifications to obtain a O-1 Visa: 

The qualifications include but does not limit to the following:

  • A well-recognized international award such as a Nobel Prize or Olympic medal
  • A less well-known award that is nationally or internationally recognized
  • A membership in an exclusive organization related to your field
  • Mentions of your published material in trade publications
  • Scholarly articles that you’ve written for your field
  • Other significant contributions to your field
  • Commanding a large salary
  • Sitting as a judge or on a panel of judges for your peers
  • Holding critical positions for esteemed organizations in your field

Attorneys analyze the list of achievements and help the clients’ case accordingly.

Advantages of O Visas:

  1. O- Visas can be issued fairly quickly
  2. Having a O-1 visa paves a path to obtaining a Green card under EB-1 Category, which is faster than Eb-2 & EB-3 visas.
  3. O-visa is initially granted for a period of up to 3 years. But it may be extended any number of times annually.
  4. Dependents of O-1 holder may be able to stay in the U.S along with the O-1 visa holder.
  5. O-visa is advantageous than H-1B in a few ways:
    1. There is no annual limit to the number of O-visas that can be approved by the USCIS.
    1. There is no educational or professional degree requirement
    1. No Prevailing Wage requirement exists
    1. One can be sponsored a O-visa on a Contractual basis 
  6. Dependents of O-1 holder may stay in the U.S along with the O-1 visa holder.
  7. Dependents or Children may attend school in the U.S.


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