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O-1 Visa

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The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for individuals who possess 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 and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. 

What are the types of O-1 classifications?

  • O-1A: individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics;
  • O-1B: individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry;
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany the O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance;
  • O-3: individuals who are the legal spouses or unmarried children under the age of 21 of O-1 or O-2 visa holders. 

Is the O-1 dual intent?

The O-1 is a quasi-dual intent visa. Yet, it is not the same as the H-1B or L-1 visa categories, which are truly dual intent. An O-1 applicant must establish the intent to remain temporarily in the United States as a part of the O-1 classification, but the O-1 visa applicant does not need to maintain a residence abroad, which they do not intend to abandon. 

How long can I stay in the United States on an O-1 visa?

The initial period of stay may be granted for three years or less. Extensions of stay may be granted for the time needed to accomplish the event or activity in increments of up to one year.

What are the differences between an O-1A and O-1B petition?

  • O-1A in the sciences, education, business, or athletics requires the beneficiary to have sustained national or international acclaim and to be one of the small percentage who has risen to the top of the field;
  • O-1B in the arts requires the beneficiary to have sustained national or international acclaim and distinction in the fields of the arts; or 
  • O-1B in MPTV requires that the beneficiary have a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry such that s/he has a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the field. 

What is the application process for an O-1 visa?

A U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent should file Form I-129 petition along with all required evidence. 

How do I show that I am eligible for the O-1 visa?

In support of the O-1 petition, it must be demonstrated that:

  • The beneficiary has extraordinary ability in the field, which is demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim;
  • The beneficiary has achievements that have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; and 
  • The beneficiary is coming to work in the area of extraordinary ability.

What does sustained international or national acclaim mean?

Sustained national or international acclaim means that a beneficiary’s acclaim must be maintained over a period of time. There is no definitive timeline on what constitutes a sustained period of time.

I have met three out of ten criteria from the O-1 evidence list. Does that mean I will get O-1 visa status?

No. First, the officer must determine whether the minimum number of criteria has been satisfied. If those requirements are met, the officer must consider all evidence in the record in its totality to determine if the worker is someone of extraordinary ability or achievement.

What is a consultation letter?

The O-1 petition must provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group or labor organization or a person with expertise in the O-1 holder’s area of ability.  The advisory opinions assist USCIS in assessing the extraordinary talent of the O-1 beneficiary. Consultations are advisory in nature and are not binding on USCIS.

Is a contract required?

A petitioner must submit a copy of any written contract between the O-1 worker and the petitioner or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the worker will be employed. 

Is an itinerary required?

An itinerary is not required for all O-1 petitions.

When do I need to file an O-1 extension petition?

The I-129 extension petition must be received by USCIS no later than the ending validity date on Form I-94.

Can I travel abroad while my O-1 extension petition is pending?

The O-1 worker must be physically present in the United States at the time the petition is filed. It is not advisable for O-1 employees to travel abroad while a petition is pending.

Can I change my O-1 employer?

Yes. If the worker wants to change employers, the new employer must file another O-1 I-129 petition with USCIS.

When do I need to file an amended O-1 petition?

If there has been any material change, other than the addition of additional performances or engagements requiring someone of extraordinary ability, in the terms and conditions of the worker’s employment or eligibility, an amended I-129 petition must be filed with USCIS. The amendment must be filed before the changes become effective.

Can I work for more than one employer on the O-1 visa?

Yes. Concurrent O-1 employment allows the individual to work for more than one employer. Each employer will need to have a separate approved O-1 petition. 

I was terminated or resigned from my O-1 employment. What do I do?

The O-1 regulations allow for a discretionary grace period of up to 60 consecutive days following the end of O-1 employment or until the end of the authorized validity period shown in the I-94, whichever is shorter. During that time, the O-1 worker must apply for a change of status, file for a change of employer, or depart the country. There is one grace period per authorized stay. 

Do I need an O-1 visa stamp?

If an O-1 worker is outside the United States, after the O-1 petition has been approved by USCIS, the employee will need to obtain an O-1 visa stamp at the consulate. O-1 visa holders will also need to obtain a valid O1 visa stamp at the consulate in order to re-enter the USA after international travel. 

How do I know if I am eligible for the O-1 visa?

To have your eligibility assessed, please contact Stone Oak Immigration PLLC. A paid consultation will be required. 


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