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O-1A & O-1B

The Immigration Act of 1990 paved the way for O visas as we know them today. O visas are specifically designed for…

The Immigration Act of 1990 paved the way for O visas as we know them today. O visas are specifically designed for those with remarkable talent and/or achievements in their chosen profession. There are four types of O visas. They are the O-1A, O-1B, O-2 and O-3 visas. Each has its criteria for eligibility as well as the length of the stays they allow. Individuals who possess these visas are typically extraordinarily talented in arts, sciences, education as well as business. If you are an individual who has exceptionally achieved at the highest levels within your field internationally, you may be eligible for an O visa.

Those who have maintained a high level of success within the television and motion picture industries are also eligible. Though the process of obtaining O visas is not incredibly difficult in comparison to other visas, it is still fraught with complexities. Petitioning for the wrong type of visa, submitting incorrect information and / or not providing the required documentation can delay the issuance of the visa and subsequently hamper business efforts until it is resolved. Whether you are petitioning on behalf of a beneficiary or you are going through the application process overseas, the attorneys at U.S. Immigration Law Counsel are prepared to help you. Give us a call for your initial consultation.

Different Types of O Visas

As previously mentioned, there are four types of O visas. While the application process, fee schedule, and time for approval are roughly the same, who is eligible for each visa is slightly different. Listed below are the most pertinent requirements for each. If you have further questions about your specific circumstances, it is best to connect with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as you can.

  • O-1A: This is designed for people who have exhibited remarkable talent and abilities within the fields of science, education, business or athletics.
  • O-1B: The O-1B visa is like the O-1A. However, it is primarily for persons who have shown exemplary talents and abilities in the television and/or motion picture industry.
  • O-2: These are for individuals who are an “integral part” of an O-1A’s activities or “essential” to the production capabilities of an O-1B holder. The holder of this visa is required to have critical skills needed for the primary visa holder’s success and continued work. Additionally, the work performed cannot be something that is easily performed by a worker in the United States.
  • O-3: O-3 visas are for the significant other and/or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

How to Apply

O visas require the petitioner to meet notoriously high standards to prove their eligibility. In most cases, you will need a written consultation from a recognized peer group or labor organization that gives credence to the extraordinary abilities and talents of the beneficiary. All petitions for O visas are filed on Form I-129. You are not allowed to file it more than a year before the services of the O visa holder are needed. Additionally, it is recommended that you apply at least 45 days in advance to ensure that you do endure unnecessary delays. You can only petition for one person on each form. Events allowable under the requirements of this visa can include tours, conferences, science-based projects, business projects, lectures, etc. There is typically a lot of confusion about which events are eligible. The entities that can petition for an O visa include U.S. employers, United States agents, or foreign employer using an agent based in the United States. Self-employed beneficiaries are not allowed to petition on behalf of themselves, but they can use a U.S. agent. Additionally, each O-1 visa requires evidence of their awards, acclaim, and/or prizes to establish eligibility.

What to Expect After You Apply

It takes roughly 15 business days to receive an approval or denial for O visa petitions. Once the petition has been approved, the beneficiary can then apply for their O visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate office. During the application process, all fees will be expected to be paid. O visas can be active for up to three years. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will make the final determination on how much time the visa holder will need to accomplish their duties. The beneficiary is only allowed to work for the petitioning employer during their stay in the U.S. Additionally, they are allowed to enter the country up to 10 days before their visa is valid and can stay for up to 10 days after.

Who We Can Help to Obtain O Visas

U.S. Immigration Law Counsel offers a full range of immigration services. Obtaining any type of visa can be confusing and stressful without the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Listed below are the varying types of individuals and entities that we can help in the process.

  • U.S. businesses hire a foreign national who exhibits remarkable ability and talents within science, art, education, business, or athletes
  • Most types of acclaimed artists and entertainers
  • Those who have received awards and/or prizes for achievements in their respective qualifying field
  • Support staff, children, and spouses of the holders of O visas
  • Foreign nationals who have made outstanding scholarly and academic achievements in science and have been offered to be employed by a company based in the United States

When to Get an Immigration Attorney

Understanding the eligibility process, the proper documentation needed, and the classification you should petition for are all necessary steps in obtaining your O visa in a timely manner. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help expedite the process and decrease your levels of stress and anxiety while going through the application process. If you are in the process of petitioning on behalf of an individual or you are one of the extraordinary talents seeking employment in the U.S., our attorneys at U.S. Immigration Law Counsel are prepared to help you successfully navigate the O visa process.

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