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O-1 Visa (For Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement.
Live and work in the US for up to three years. O-1 dependents can apply for O-3 visas.)

What is an O-1 visa for USA?

The O-1 classification in US nonimmigrant visas is for individuals that possess extraordinary ability in certain fields or have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement. Extraordinary ability can be in the fields of – athletics, arts, business, education, or sciences.

What are the benefits of O-1 visa for the US?

The benefits of the O-1 visa include –
  • Quick processing
  • No numerical limit or annual cap
  • Can work legally in the US for sponsor
  • Can be granted stay in the US for up to a maximum of three years
  • Unlimited extensions available as one-year increments
  • Route to permanent residency or US Green Card
Dependents can come to the US with the O-1 visa holder, but cannot accept employment in the US. If the O-1 visa holder switches to another job in the US, they would require a new visa.

How many O category visas for the US?

The O nonimmigrant classification covers the following four separate visa categories –
  • O-1A: For individuals that possess extraordinary ability in athletics, business, education, and sciences. This category does not include the arts, television or motion arts industry.
  • O-1B: For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
  • O-2: For individuals that will be accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific performance or event.
  • O-3: For individuals that are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

How long can I What are the arts included under O-1 US visa classification?

For the purposes of an O-1 visa, ‘arts’ implies any field of creative endeavor. This includes, but is not limited to, fine arts, culinary arts, performing arts, and visual arts.

In addition to the principal creators and performers, there are other essential persons that also come under the category of arts for O-1 eligibility. For example, directors, musical supervisors, stage technicians etc.

Can I stay in Who will petition for my US O-1 visa?

A petitioner seeking to get an O-1 or O-2 status for a foreign national will have to file a petition on their behalf on the form prescribed by USCIS. An O-1 or O-2 petition can only be filed by a –
  1. O-1A: US employer,
  2. O-1B: A US agent, or
  3. O-2: A foreign employer, through a US agent.
The petition might be filed up to a year before the date of the actual requirement for the services of the individual in the US.

What documents do I need for O-1 visa?

Depends on whether you are from arts, other eligible fields or from the motion picture or television industry.

1. For persons of extraordinary ability in the fields of athletics, business, education, or science:

Must be able to demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements by providing –
  • Receipt of a prominent internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, OR
  • Documents such as - published material, evidence of having commanded or to command a high salary, evidence of being employed in a critical or essential capacity, evidence of participation on a panel etc.
Comparable evidence of occupation might be submitted to establish eligibility.
2. For persons of extraordinary ability in the arts:

Must be recognized as being prominent in their field of endeavor by providing –
  • Evidence of being nominated for, or being the recipient of, significant international or national awards such as Grammy, Academy Award, Emmy, or a Director’s Guild Award, OR
  • Documents such as - evidence of significant recognition for achievements from critics, government agencies, organizations, or other recognized experts; evidence of having commanded or to command a high salary; evidence of having achieved national or international recognition.
Comparable evidence of occupation might be submitted to establish eligibility.
3. For persons of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry:

The individual must be recognized as having a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement by providing –
  • Evidence of being nominated for, or receiving significant national or international awards or prizes such as a Grammy, an Emmy, an Academy Award, or a Director’s Guild Award.
  • Documents such as - evidence of having a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, evidence of having achieved recognition (national or international) for achievements, evidence of having commanded or to command a high salary etc.

Will my What is the O-1 visa application process?

The process will begin with your US employer filing a petition – Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker – with USCIS on your behalf. Then, you will have to fill up Form DS160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. As this is a petition-based US visa, you will have to pay USD190 – approximately INR14,820 – as the visa application fee. Two separate interviews will have to be scheduled – for giving your biometrics at the Visa Application Centre (VAC), followed by a visa interview at a US Embassy / Consulate. Take all your required documentation along with you for the interviews.

Other Important FAQs

Being a non-immigrant visa, the O-1 doesn’t directly lead to a US Green Card. You can, however, switch to an employment-based EB-1 visa while in the US.

To be eligible, you must –

  • Want to set up and run an ‘innovative’ business in the UK,
  • Have the support of an endorsing body, and
  • Meet the other eligibility requirements.

How to extend my stay on O-1 visa?

The following to be filed with USCIS –

  • A statement stating the reasons for seeking an extension,
  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and
  • A copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.

The spouse and children of the O-1 visa holder will have to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Can I take dependents with me on my O-1 visa?

Yes. You can take your dependents – spouse and children below 21 years of age – along with you to the US when you get an O-1 visa. Your dependents will have to apply for O-3 visas. They can either come along with you or join later (also called “following to join”).

Can my O-3 dependents work in the US?

No. An O-1/O-2 visa holder’s dependents cannot work in the US while on an O-3 status.

Can my O-3 dependents study in the US?

Yes. Your O-3 dependents can study, full-time or part-time, in the United States.

How to change my O-1 employer?

Your new employer must file Form I-129 on your behalf.

How can I work in the US?

Generally, a foreign national that intends to enter the US will have to first secure a relevant visa, as per their purpose of visit. A nonimmigrant US visa allows temporary stay in the country. An immigrant visa is for permanent residence in the US. You can work in the US on a temporary basis for a certain time period with a temporary worker visa.

What is a temporary worker visa for the US?

A temporary worker visa permits you to enter the US for employment over a fixed period of time. The employment offered must not be indefinite or permanent.

The prospective US employer must begin the process by filing a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An approved petition will be required before you can apply for a work visa.

What is an O-2 visa for US?

For foreign nationals that would be accompanying the O-1 artist or athlete to the United States. O-2 is not available for accompanying O-1 visa holders in the fields of business, science, or education.

What is the US O-3 visa?

A spouse or unmarried child below 21 years of age of O-1 or O-2 visa holders can apply for the O-3 status for O-1 dependents. They can either accompany the O-1 or O-2 visa holders to the US, or join them at a later date.

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