The O-1 Visa is a non-immigrant status awarded to aliens who possess extraordinary ability in science, art (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics. This is still an employment related status that allows qualified aliens to live and work in the United States, and may only be filed on behalf of the beneficiary by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent. The O-1 visa is also a dual intent visa, meaning that the beneficiary may simultaneously seek permanent resident status while in the U.S. on an O-1 visa without worrying about intent requirements.
The different types of O visas are:
- 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 the extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
- O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1 individual to assist in a specific event or performance.
- O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.
Aliens awarded O status can initially stay up to three years, with the validity period commencing at the date of approval and ending with the date requested by the petitioner. This date is not to exceed the date which the USCIS has determined to be necessary to complete the work-related event or activity the alien is in the United States to carry out (and not more than three years). Extensions may be granted in increments of one year, if the USCIS determines the time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity warrants extension.
O status can be sought by a US employer for an alien who’s work-related activities require him or her to travel to the United States on a temporary basis. The Code of Federal Regulations defines a qualifying event as “an activity such as, but not limited to, a scientific project, conference, convention, lecture, series, tour, exhibit, business project, academic year, or engagement.” In addition, a job which does not exactly fit the federal definition may also count so long as it is within the alien’s area of extraordinary ability.
O Visa Benefits:
The O-1 Visa differs from other employment-related statuses in that it applies to a broader range of work than other visa categories, such as H or L. For example, H-1B cannot apply to athletes or entertainers, and is limited to professionals. Moreover, unlike many other visas, the O visa does not have an annual quota. In addition, the O-1 is available as a work-around for those aliens subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement of the J-1 exchange visitor program. J status individuals may petition for O status without fulfilling the two-year home country residency requirement or getting a waiver for that requirement. However, the individual must still obtain the O-1 visa in the home country after their O-1 application is approved by the USCIS.
Buda Law Group has successfully obtained hundreds of visas for qualified persons, and we have even won some very borderline cases. If you have an extraordinary skill or exceptional ability in a certain field, talk to us today about the possibility of obtaining an O visa!John B. Buda, Esq. www.budalawgroup.net office: 310-452-1872 [email protected] 3301 Ocean Park Blvd. Suite 205 Santa Monica, CA 90405