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O Visa-Extraordinary Ability Visa

The O visa is a nonimmigrant temporary visa that is granted to individuals, who possess extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

The O visa requires an employer or agent to become the sponsor and file a petition on behalf of the beneficiary. It can last up to 3 years and can be extended for additional 3 years.

The O visa is divided into the following categories: O-1A, O-1B, O-2, and O-3.

The O-1A visa is for individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (this does not include the arts, motion pictures, or television industry).This can be the case of a famous professor, a prominent researcher, or successful manager.

The O-1B visa is for individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. This can be the case of a famous singer, actor, or artist.

What Do Beneficiaries Need to Provide?

Individuals qualifying for the O-1A or O-1B visa will have to provide evidence that demonstrates their extraordinary ability. The evidence includes but is not limited to published material of the beneficiary’s work in the field, receipts of awards and prizes, the beneficiary’s high salary in the beneficiary’s field of work, and evidence of success and reputation in the beneficiary’s field of work.

O-1 Visa Dependents

The O-2 visa is for individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. The O-2 is dependent on the O-1 visa as the O-2 visa holder must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity or “essential” of the O-1B’s activity. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 visa holder. For example, a trainer coming to the U.S. to train the athlete on an O-1 visa.

O Visa Spouse and Children

The O-3 visa is for individuals who are the spouse or unmarried children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders. They cannot work in the U.S. but they can study full-time or part-time on an O-3 visa.

Benefits of O Visas

The O visa has many benefits. There is no cap on the number of O visas that be given in any fiscal year. There is no lottery restriction the individual has to go through for the O visa such as the H-1B visa. Premium processing is available for O visas and USCIS guarantees to process the petition within 15 days. No investment is required such as the E-2 visa. The O visa offers a pattern to the green card and in many cases, beneficiaries do not need a sponsor if they achieve a sustained level of acclaim.