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O-1 Nonimmigrant Visa for Recognized Beneficiaries Demonstrating Extraordinary Abilities


Recognized people with extraordinary ability or achievement are eligible for O-1 immigrant visa. Its classifications are –

  • O-1A – People displaying remarkable ability in education, science, athletics, or business.
  • O-1B – People with exceptional talent in arts or obtained great achievement in TV or Film industry.
  • O-2 – Those who accompany O-1 athlete or artist to help in specific performance or event. O-2 visa holder can be referred to as assistance with necessary experience and skills that an US worker is not be able to perform. For O-1A, the assistance needs to be an integral part of the beneficiary’s activity. For O-1B, the assistance needs to be an essential to complete beneficiary’s production.
  • O-3 – The kids or spouse of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

Eligibility criteria

It is obvious that the beneficiary for the US O-1 visa will need to demonstrate astonishing ability in their respective fields. Extraordinary ability means high level achievement and recognition. Their purpose of short-term visa has to be aimed at continuing their work in their relevant field.

O-1 visa application process

File petition form I-129 with USCIS office. Petition must not be filed one-year prior actual need. To avoid delays, file the petition form at least 45 days prior employment date. Other documentary evidence to submit with the form are –

  • Peer group consultation in writing or written advisory opinion
  • Written contract between petitioner and foreign employer or sponsor
  • Itineraries explanation for events and activities
  • Proof of beneficiary’s recognized achievement or award

If there are agents involved then …..

  • If there is an US agent recruiting the beneficiary then he/she must establish that they are duly authorized to represent the specific employer. The petition form I-129 needs to be supported with contract agreement between real employer and beneficiary, complete event/s itinerary with details, employment terms and conditions.
  • If the agent is performing as an employer then the I-129 petition form must include contract agreement between beneficiary and agent and detailed itinerary.

After the O-1 or O-2 visa petition gets approved the beneficiary will be able to apply for visa at the US Embassy.