Employment-based Immigration: O-1 Visas: Aliens of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 nonimmigrant classification is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
An O-1 classification applies to:
- O-1A - An individual alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; or
- O-1B - An alien who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and/or television productions and who is coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary achievement.
Evidentiary Criteria for O-1A
The O-1A visa requires evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
- Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s 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
- 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 beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility
Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B
The O-1B visa requires evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
- Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
- Performed or will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials
- A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
- Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements
- A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence
- If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry)
Visas for Assistants and Family Members
O visa provisions also cover assistants and family members. The O-2 classification applies to an accompanying alien who is coming temporarily to the United States solely to assist in the artistic or athletic performance by an O-1. The O-3 classification cover the spouse and children of O-1 status holders.
Industries Utilizing the O Classification
The O classification is regularly used by executives, individuals in academia and research, sports, and the entertainment industries. If you have questions about O visas or other employment-based immigration options, contact The Chander Law Firm today.