O-1 visas are reserved for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability
in the arts, athletics, sciences, education, and business. The international
workforce benefits greatly from the flexibility and quickness of obtaining
visas in the O category, which does have many of the limitations and complications
that come with the H-1B visa program.
The two primary subcategories of the O-1 visa are:
- O-1A – Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in athletics,
education, business, and science. This visa has a higher standard of eligibility
than the O-1B category.
- O-1B – Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in motion pictures,
television, and the arts.
We also help clients obtain O-2 visas (for essential support personnel
of O-1A and O-1B visa holders) and O-3 visas (for the spouse and children
of O-1 and O-2 visa holders).
Beginning in 2020, there will be more pressure on USCIS adjudication officers
to heavily scrutinize petitions in all categories, including the O-1 visa.
Choosing the correct O-1 category is vital, as is completing the application
with zero errors and sufficient documentation. Our lawyers at Oakhurst
Legal Group help clients apply for visas in the categories that have the
highest possible chances of case approval.
O-1A: Athletics, Education, & Business
The O-1A visa is the category with the strictest eligibility requirements.
These visas are reserved for individuals such as business executives,
world-class athletes, and persons in academia. O-1A visas require copious
amounts of evidence to prove that the beneficiary has experienced sustained
international or national acclaim in their industry.
There are several categories for proof of sustained acclaim under the O-1A
category, including receipt of a major award (e.g. Nobel Prize or Olympic
medal), OR at least 3 of the following:
- Other international and national awards in the beneficiary’s industry
- Authorship of articles and essays in professional media outlets
- Employment in an essential capacity
- Receipt of higher compensation than peers
- Association with groups that require outstanding qualities for membership
- Published articles about the beneficiary and their contributions to the industry
- Significant, original, tangible, and intangible contributions to science,
academia, or business
O-1B: Motion Picture, Television, & the Arts
Motion picture and television professionals include not only actors but
also cinematographers, writers, directors, and other essential personnel.
For motion pictures and television-based O-1B petitions, the beneficiary
must already have a history of extraordinary achievement and proof of
a degree of skill that is outstanding, leading, and/or notable compared
to their peers.
- Visual artists
- Virtual artists
- Sound engineers
- Art directors
- Other creative professionals
O-1B visas applicants in the arts must prove the distinction of having
skills substantially above what is typically encountered in their field.
In addition, the applicant must be considered renowned, well known, or
leading in their industry.
Generally, the O-1B visa has a less rigid eligibility standard than the
O-1A visa. O-1A applicants are not able to take advantage of the O-1B
visa requirements because the supporting evidence for their background
simply would not fit in enough categories to obtain the visa, and the
job title is not likely to be accepted by USCIS for the O-1B category.
The O-1B visa requirements include receipt of a major award that would
be the equivalent to a world championship in athletics or a Grammy in
music, OR at least 3 of the following:
- Previously has and will participate in critically acclaimed and prestigious
events, projects, and performances
- Significant national and international awards in the beneficiary’s
field of endeavor
- Previously has or will play a leading role in projects, events, and performances
with prestigious companies and organizations
- Articles from third parties with reputable media outlets discussing the
work of the beneficiary
- Critical reviews of the beneficiary’s work included in major media
outlets, trade publications, and industry journals
- Evidence of sustained acclaim and recognition from experts, industry insiders,
important organizations, and other sources
- Earning or will be earning a significantly higher wage than peers in the
Ready to get started on your O or P visa application in Charlotte and beyond?
Give us a call at
(704) 288-1003 or fill out our
online contact form. We offer same-day appointments, free case reviews, and multilingual services.