O1 Visa Limit: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement |O-1 Visa
The O1 Visa is a nonimmigrant work visa designed for internationals who possess an extraordinary ability in the fields of sciences, arts, education, business, athletics. Or individuals who have a demonstrated record of exceptional achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
For more information, see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 2, Part M.
The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as O1A visa and O1B visa; both categories have the same benefits; however, the criteria needed to qualify differ from one another.
- O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures, or television industry)
- O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or remarkable achievement in the motion picture or television industry
- O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance; and
- O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
In order to have the most significant outcome of qualifying for an O1 visa limit, the beneficiary must submit a vast amount of documents to demonstrate their extraordinary ability. In addition, this exceptional ability must show that the individual applying has sustained national or international acclaim. And must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of exceptional ability.
Extraordinary ability in the field of science, education, business, or athletics means a high level of expertise that makes it look like the person is one of the small percentages that has risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.
In the category of ARTS, Extraordinary ability means Distinction.
According to the United States Customs and Immigration Service, the definition of Distinction is described as a high level of achievement, evidenced by a degree of skill, or to receive recognition above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person is described as prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, you must demonstrate extraordinary achievement. This is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that you are recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.
To qualify for an O-2 visa, your assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A visa holder’s performance and you must have critical skills and experience with the O-1 visa holder that are not of a general nature and cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker. In the case of an O-2 visa holder in the motion picture or television industry, you must have skills and experience with the O-1 visa holder that are not of a general nature and which are critical either based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship or, with respect to the specific production, because significant production (including pre-and post-production work) will take place both inside and outside the United States and your continuing participation is essential to the successful completion of the production.
In addition, you must have a petitioner who is your employer, agent, agent for multiple employers, or agent on behalf of a foreign employer. For more information, you can Click Here.
Application Process O1 Visa limit
The petitioner should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, (see Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions. The petition may not be filed more than one year before the actual need for the alien’s services. Therefore, to avoid delays, the beneficiary should file Form I-129 at least 45 days before the date of employment
The Petitioner must provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability. If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
When a consultation includes a watermark or other distinctive marks to confirm the document’s authenticity, petitioners should submit to USCIS the version containing the watermark or other distinctive marks. Copies of documents that do not contain the appropriate watermark or other distinctive marks may raise doubts about the document’s authenticity and may result in processing delays. For example, USCIS may request that the petitioner submit the original version of the document. To avoid processing delays, petitioners should ensure that they submit the appropriate version and that any associated watermark or other distinctive marks are legible.
For more information, Click Here.
Exceptions to the Consultation Requirement
If your employer or agent can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist, then we will base our decision on the evidence they submit in support of Form I-129. We may waive a consultation if you have extraordinary ability in the field of arts and you are seeking readmission to perform similar services within two years of the date of a previous consultation. Your employer or agent should submit a waiver request and a copy of the previous consultation with the petition.
In addition to other requirements, it is essential to note that you must provide deal memos or job offers from distinguished companies in the U.S. Depending on the type of sponsor you have, they might be able to assist you. If you decide to use Creative Artist International as your sponsor, you will have the luxury of working with multiple employers in the U.S.
The Petitioner must also submit a copy of any written contract between you and the them or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which you will be employed.
For additional information about the contract requirement for O-1 nonimmigrants and considerations specific to agent petitioners, see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 2, Part M, Chapter 7.
The petitioner must provide an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, if applicable. The petitioner must establish that there are events or activities in your field of extraordinary ability for the validity period requested, such as an itinerary for a tour or a series of events.
If you are an O-1 nonimmigrant in the United States and want to change employers, the new employer must file Form I-129 with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions. If an agent filed your original petition, your new employer must file an amended petition with evidence showing they are your new employer and a request for an extension of stay.
This is why choosing the right type of sponsor that suits your needs is crucial.
Who is Eligible?
The first thing to remember is that eligibility is based on whether you are applying for an O-1A Visa or an O-1B Visa; here are the benefits under those circumstances.
- You can live in the U.S.
- You can work in the U.S.
- Can freely travel in and out of the U.S.
- You can bring O-3 Visa dependents with you
- Study in the U.S. part-time
- Do not need to prove intent to return home
- Can freely transfer to a different visa
- You can pursue permanent residency
- No limit on the number of visas distributed by the U.S.
- You must do only the work you applied to do
- Your Visa is tied to your sponsoring job
- It will not lead directly to permanent residency
Moreover, the content of the Visa application is different for every applicant. Still, the process can usually take at least 12 weeks. Also, you cannot apply more than a year before your job starts.
- Compile your application packet.
- Send out your application to USCIS. The decision times vary, but generally 2-6 weeks.
- If necessary, answer any RFE’s you receive.
- Receive your approval notice in the mail.
- Get your Visa from an Embassy
- Locate a U.S. Consulate (also known as an embassy) that you can get to easily
- Make an appointment for an O Visa
- Complete the DS-160 Form online.
- Schedule your appointment and pay online.
- Go to Visa Interview.
- Get Visa Stamped Passport in Mail.
- That’s it! Welcome to the U.S.!
Going to the U.S.
Above all, the O-1 approval notice will have a start date for your work. You can travel to the U.S. 10 days before that start date to “get settled.”
Extension of Stay
If you need to extend your stay to continue or complete the same event or activity, your employer or agent must file the following documents with USCIS:
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
- A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record; and
- A statement explaining the reasons for the extension.
To help us process your request, the statement should describe the event or activity that was the basis for the original approval and confirm that the extension is needed so you can continue or complete the same event or activity as described.
Your spouse and children must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and submit any supporting documents to extend their stay. For more information, see our Form I-539 page.