Persons who can obtain a O Visas are those of ‘extraordinary abilities’ in the sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics. The O visa is a non-immigrant visa and one of the few visas which have the ‘dual intent’ element, meaning that the recipient may at the same time request for permanent resident status (in certain conditions) and not be concerned about the so-called ‘preconceived intent’. There is a need to be sponsored by an employer, and receive a job offer to obtain the O-1 visa.
O-1 status is distinguished from other employment related visas as they are broader in scope compared to other visas, such as H or L visas. For example, in the case of a H-1B visa, these are restricted to professionals, which closes the door on athletes and entertainers, and staying with H-1Bs, – there is also a yearly cap on the number of visas available, thus, many immigrants that do not get visas because of the quota, will apply for O-1 status. Likewise, there are also restrictions on a L visa, which makes the O visa an attractive option.
An O Visa may be sought for an immigrant, by a qualifying employer, agents, managers, concert venues, etc., when the work-related event or group of activities requires a foreign national to travel to the U.S. on a temporary basis. In order to obtain this visa, a recipient should be involved in ‘an activity such as, but not limited to, a scientific project, conference, convention, lecture, series, tour, exhibit, business project, academic year, or engagement’. Moreover, if the job/activity does not have a specific engagement or project, that exactly fits the above definition it may also be considered if the ‘activity’ is within the foreign national’s area of extraordinary ability. Activities such as these may include short holidays, promotional appearances, and stop-overs which are incidental and, or related to the event.
Visas for persons with extraordinary athletic, science, arts, business, or educational abilities.
The length of the O-1 visa is up to three years, and if extensions are deemed necessary, they shall be granted for increments of one year. Thus, in theory there is no limit to the number of extensions that can be given if you can prove to the USCIS the continued need for this visa.
Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of twenty-one, may accompany you to the United States. For employment questions for family members please contact us.