O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa


A O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa is a visa for people who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts. Education, business and athletics. The visa is also good for anyone who has shown extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television. They must have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

In order to qualify for this visa, you must have a proven ability to have a continual amount of acclaim both nationally and internationally. You must be coming to the U.S. temporarily to continue to work in the area you have a proven ability for. To have an extraordinary ability in the field of art, you must be distinct from other artist out there. This means your art must have a very high level of achievement in the field recognized by acclaim putting you above other artist. The same can be said about athletics, business, education and the move or television field.

The initial period of stay for this visa is up to 3 years. The USCIS will determine if extensions of stays are necessary and grant them in up to 1 year increments. The beneficiary may only work in authorized employment during the validity period of the petition. Before you can apply for a visa, a petitioner can file an I-29 form on the beneficiaries behalf.

Any spouse or children under the age of 21 can apply to obtain an O-3 non-immigrant visa. The visa is eligible for the same period as the initial beneficiary of the O-1 visa. They are not eligible under this visa to work, but they can engage in full or part time study under the O-3 visa. If you want to change employers once you reach the U.S., that employer needs to be the one to file an I-129 form.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of art means the person has earned distinctions. Distinction means that the person has received a high level of achievement above many in the industry. The individual has become a renowned leader in the field of arts.

To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, one must display extraordinary achievement by a degree of skill and recognition above others in the same field.

The petitioner must file a petition with the USCIS fr the O-2 visa. The petitioner must submit a Form I-129 for non-immigrant workers. Once approved, the beneficiary may be admitted to the United States for the validity of the period of the petition. The initial period of stay can be up to 3 years. The beneficiary may only engage in the employment their authorized to do during the validity of the of the petition time.

If the petitioner wants an extension of stay, they must file the documentation below with the USCIS:

  • Form I-129 petition for non-immigrant worker
  • A copy of the beneficiary’s form I-94/arrival or departure record 
  • A statement from the petitioner explainng the reasons for the extensions

Any spouses or children under the age of 21 can accompany the the O-1 holder, but they are can’t work during their stay.