O-1 EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY VISA

Are you recognised worldwide in your field?

O-1A VISA

General Requirements

You may be eligible for an O-1A visa if you have extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics.

Establishing extraordinary ability
In order to qualify for an O-1A visa you must be able to demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for your achievements by providing evidence of:

 

1. Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award
OR
2. At least three of the following:

A. Documentation of your receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in your field of endeavour;
B. Documentation of your membership in associations in your field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
C. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about you, relating to your work in the field.
D. Evidence of your participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in your field.
E. Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
F. Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
G. Evidence that you have been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
H. Evidence that you have commanded a high salary or you will command a high salary for your services.

If the aforementioned criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, you may provide comparable evidence to establish your eligibility for O-1 status.
US employment
You must demonstrate you have set work in the US in your field of extraordinary ability. Prospective employment in the US is not permitted.

O-1A Application Process

Obtaining an O-1A visa is a two-step process involving: 1) a petition filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); and 2) a visa interview at a US consular post abroad.

1. O-1A Petition Processing

Petition Documentation
In order for you to obtain an O-1A visa, it will be necessary for a US company to file an O-1A visa petition with US on your behalf. The US company may be your employer, or if you will work in the US for a foreign employer, a company designated by your foreign company to file the petition as its agent.

Your O-1A petition must include the following to demonstrate your eligibility for the O-1A visa:

• Documentation establishing your extraordinary ability;
• A contract for your US employment, or if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms under which you will be employed;
• An explanation of the nature of the activities you will perform in the US; and
• A written advisory opinion from an appropriate consulting entity or entities (if an appropriate entity exists).

Advisory Opinions
Depending on whether an appropriate US peer group exists for your field of work, it may be necessary to obtain an advisory opinion for your O-1A petition. If a peer group exists and is amenable to issuing an advisory opinion, it will review your qualifications and render an opinion on your extraordinary ability.

If an appropriate US peer group does not exist, USCIS will render a decision on your case based on the other petition documentation provided.

Petition Adjudication
Once your O-1A petition is complete, it will be submitted to USCIS for adjudication. USCIS aims to adjudicate O-1A petitions within two weeks, however actual processing times may vary depending on workload.

If during the adjudication process a USCIS adjudicating officer determines that additional information and/or documentation is needed to render a decision on the case, a request for additional information will be issued. Such requests vary in length depending on the extent of information and documentation requested.

Upon receipt of the requested information and documentation, USCIS will resume processing of the petition.

Premium Processing
For an additional fee, you may request premium processing of your petition. Under this service USCIS will adjudicate your case within 15 calendar days. If a request for additional evidence is issued on a petition filed using the premium processing service, USCIS will have an additional 15 calendar days from receipt of the response to adjudicate the case.


2. O-1A Visa Interview
Presuming your O-1A petition is approved, you will arrange a visa interview at a US consular post abroad. Interview procedures vary widely among consular posts so it is important to carefully follow instructions provided for the post where your O-1A interview will be held.

At your O-1A visa interview a consular officer will ask you questions to confirm the information provided in the O-1A petition about you and your US employment. You will be notified of the decision made on your application at your interview. Provided your application is approved the consular officer will retain your passport for visa stamping.

Your passport with embossed O-1A visa stamp will be returned to you within approximately one week of your interview. Once received you are permitted to travel to the US to work in O-1A status in line with the employment detailed in your O-1A petition.

Dependents
Your spouse and children may apply for O-3 visas which will allow them to reside with you in the US. Dependent visa applications may be made at the time of your interview, or by scheduling a separate interview at a US consular post following approval of your O-1A visa application.

O-1A Visa Renewal
O-1A Visas are renewable indefinitely, provided you continue to meet O-1 visa requirements.

O-1B VISA

General Requirements

You may be eligible for an O-1B visa if you have extraordinary ability in the arts.

Establishing extraordinary ability
In order to qualify for an O-1B visa you must be recognized as being prominent in your field of endeavour as demonstrated by the following:

1. Evidence that you have been nominated for, or have been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in your field
OR
2. At least three of the following:

A. Evidence you have performed, and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation;
B. Evidence you have achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about you in major publications;
C. Evidence you have performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
D. Evidence that you have a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;
E. Evidence that you have received significant recognition for achievements from experts in the field; or
F. Evidence that you have commanded a high salary or will command a high salary in relation to others in the field.

If the aforementioned criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, you may provide comparable evidence to establish your eligibility for O-1 status.
US employment
You must demonstrate you have set work in the US in your field of extraordinary ability. Prospective employment in the US is not permitted.

O-1B Application Process

Obtaining an O-1B visa is a two-step process involving: 1) a petition filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); and 2) a visa interview at a US consular post abroad.

1. O-1B Petition Processing

Petition Documentation
In order for you to obtain an O-1B visa, it will be necessary for a US company to file an O-1B visa petition with US on your behalf. The US company may be your employer, or if you will work in the US for a foreign employer, a company designated by your foreign company to file the petition as its agent.

Your O-1B petition must include the following to demonstrate your eligibility for the O-1B visa:

• Documentation establishing your extraordinary ability;
• A contract for your US employment, or if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms under which you will be employed;
• An explanation of the nature of the activities you will perform in the US; and
• A written advisory opinion from an appropriate consulting entity or entities (if an appropriate entity exists).

Advisory Opinions
Depending on whether an appropriate US peer group exists for your field of work, it may be necessary to obtain an advisory opinion for your O-1 petition. If a peer group exists and is amenable to issuing an advisory opinion, it will review your qualifications and render an opinion on your extraordinary ability.

If an appropriate US peer group does not exist, USCIS will render a decision on your case based on the information provided.

Petition Adjudication
Once your O-1B petition is complete, it will be submitted to USCIS for adjudication. USCIS aims to adjudicate O-1B petitions within two weeks, however actual processing times may vary depending on workload.

If during the adjudication process a USCIS adjudicating officer determines that additional information and/or documentation is needed to render a decision on the case, a request for additional information will be issued. Such requests vary in length depending on the extent of information and documentation requested.

Upon receipt of the requested information and documentation, USCIS will resume processing of the petition.

Premium Processing
For an additional fee, you may request premium processing of your petition. Under this service USCIS will adjudicate your case within 15 calendar days. If a request for additional evidence is issued on a petition filed using the premium processing service, USCIS will have an additional 15 calendar days from receipt of the response to adjudicate the case.

2. O-1 Visa Interview
Presuming your O-1B petition is approved, you will arrange a visa interview at a US consular post abroad. Interview procedures vary widely among consular posts so it is important to carefully follow instructions provided for the post where your O-1B interview will be held.

At your O-1B visa interview a consular officer will ask you questions to confirm the information provided in the O-1B petition about you and your US employment. You will be notified of the decision made on your application at your interview. Provided your application is approved the consular officer will retain your passport for visa stamping.

Your passport with embossed O-1B visa stamp will be returned to you within approximately one week of your interview. Once received you are permitted to travel to the US to work in O-1B status in line with the employment described in your O-1B petition.

Dependents
Your spouse and children may apply for O-3 visas which will allow them to reside with you in the US. Dependent visa applications may be made at the time of your interview, or by scheduling a separate interview at a US consular post following approval of your O-1B visa application.

O-1B Visa Renewal
O-1B visas are renewable indefinitely, provided you continue to meet O-1 visa requirements.