Extraordinary abilities (O visa)

O-1A visas are for individuals who have extraordinary ability in Science, Education, Business or Athletics. O-1B visas are for individuals who have extraordinary ability in the Motion Picture and Television industry. Visas are available to the O-1 visa holder’s support staff (O-2), as well as for the O-1 visa holder’s spouse and children (O-3). There is currently no annual cap on O visas. The O visa is a “dual intent” visa, meaning that a visa will not be denied simply because an individual has intentions to become a permanent resident.

The O petition has to be filed by a U.S. employer or U.S. agent, manager, concert venue, or other sponsor. The petition has to be supplemented by the following evidence:

  1. A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the alien’s area of ability which describes the person’s ability/achievements in the field and the duties to be performed;
  2. A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  3. If the events will take place in multiple areas, an itinerary or schedule must be submitted which sets forth the dates and locations of the events;
  4. Evidence that the alien has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least three of the following:
    • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Membership in organization which requires outstanding achievement;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the person and his/her work in the field for which classification is sought;
    • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
    • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
    • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought; or,
    • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

If the above standards do not readily apply to the person’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the alien’s eligibility.

Athletes can also apply for P-1 visa when they are competing individually or as part of a team.

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