Frequently Asked Questions About O Visa

Frequently Asked Questions of O Visa (Non-Resident of Extraordinary Ability in Arts, Athletics, Business, Education, and Sciences)

What is the purpose of an O visa?

An O-1 visa benefits non-residents of extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education, or science. The O-2 visa is for specific people accompanying O-1 athletes and artists. The O-3 visa is for dependents of O-1s and O-2s.

What is the standard of review of an O-1 visa?

Non-residents of diverse specialties are forced to comply with diverse standards of review. The benchmark for deciding “extraordinariness” is highest for educators, scientists, and business persons, and lower for the arts. For individuals whose knowledge is in business, education, and science, extraordinary ability is indicated by continued national or international notoriety and the non-residents must have climbed to the peak of the field. This standard is comparable to that of the EB-1A visa. To meet the requirements of an O-1 non-resident of extraordinary ability in the arts, the rules require “distinction.” “Distinction” means a high rank of accomplishment in the area of arts as proven by a level of recognition and skill significantly above that usually found, to the degree that an individual is designated as well-known, leading, or prominent in the area of arts. The applicants pursuing a visa to perform in the motion picture or television industry have a special requirement. They should establish a record of extraordinary accomplishment. O-1 seekers must be coming to the U.S. to work in the area in which acclaim was received.
Who qualifies as a non-resident of extraordinary ability as athletes, business persons, educators, and scientists?
Those non-residents must have continued national or international notoriety and their accomplishments have been established in the field through a vast amount evidence. In addition, the non-resident is coming to the U.S. to remain working in the area of expertise that achieved notoriety.

What does “extraordinary ability” mean?

“Extraordinary ability” means a level of knowledge signifying that the person is one of very few who has climbed to the peak of the field of expertise.

How should an application establish that the non-resident has sustained national or international notoriety in education, science, and business?

National or international notoriety can be proven by receiving a key internationally acclaimed award such as the Academy Award or a Nobel Prize. Alternatively, the non-resident must specify a minimum of three of the following kinds of documentation:
Receipt of nationally/internationally acclaimed awards/prizes for distinction in the area of expertise;
Participation in organizations in the area that require exceptional accomplishment of their participants, as judged by acclaimed national or international professionals;
Published articles in major trade or professional journals or major media about the non-resident;
Take part in a group or as a critic of the efforts of others in the same or a similar area of expertise;
Special scholarly, scientific, or business-related contributions of ley importance;
Authoring academic articles in professional publications or other major media;
Current or previous work in a crucial or indispensable capability for associations or institutions that have a prominent reputation; or,
Past or previously offered elevated salary or other payment for services, proven by agreements or other consistent evidence.
Business achievement in the arts as proven by compact disk, cassette, video sales, or box office receipts or sales records.

Can the O-1 visa holder have dual intent?

The answer is yes, there is not a foreign residence condition for O-1 beneficiaries. The filing of a preference application or authorization of a permanent labor certification is not a reason for denying O status. A non-resident may legally come to the U.S. for a temporary time as an O-1 non-resident, and, concurrently, lawfully pursue becoming a permanent resident.
How should an O-1 application establish a non-resident’s distinction in the arts?
To establish the non-resident’s excellence, USCIS guidelines state that the non-resident must have been suggested for or have received a substantial national or international prize or award in the specified area such as a Grammy, Academy Award, Emmy, or Director’s Guild Award.
A minimum of three of the following types of evidence must be given that prove that the non-resident:
Will or has performed a starring or lead role in events or productions that have a well-known reputation;
Has attained national or international recognition for accomplishments;
Has performed a critical, lead, or starring role for establishments and organizations that have a well-known status;
Has a reputation of key critically acclaimed or commercial accomplishments;
Has received substantial acknowledgement for accomplishments from government agencies, critics, organizations, or other familiar experts in the area of expertise;
Demanded or now demands a high wage or other significant payment for services in the area of expertise; or
Similar documentation.
How should an O-1 application establish a non-resident’s achievements in the motion picture or television industry?
To qualify as an individual of extraordinary accomplishment in the television or motion picture industry, the non-resident must prove that there is a very high level of accomplishment as proven by a degree of recognition and skill substantially beyond what is usually found to the degree that the person is seen as leading, outstanding, or notable in the field. The types of evidence that can be presented to establish that the non-resident is someone of extraordinary accomplishment in the television or motion picture industry are consistent with the evidence required to establish that a non-resident is an individual of extraordinary capability in the arts.
Who qualifies for an O-2 visa?
The O-2 class is reserved for non-residents who will assist and accompany in the athletic or artistic performance of an O-1 non-resident. These non-residents must be a primary portion of the real performance and have significant experience and skills of the non-resident that are not typical and cannot be accomplished by other performers. An O-2 visa is given to those entering the U.S. to assist O-1 non-residents in the athletics, television, motion pictures, or the arts. Non-residents given entrance with the O-2 visa cannot work apart from the O-1 non-resident with whom they have a joint application.
What evidence should an O-2 application present?
To be eligible for O-2 status, the USCIS requires the non-resident to present evidence that determines the current importance, experience, and critical skills of the O-2 non-resident with the O-1 non-resident, and that the non-resident has significant experience achieving the vital assistant services and critical skills for the O-1 non-resident. For supplementary O-1 non-residents on a television or movie production, they should have a longstanding and pre-existing working association with the key non-resident or must be necessary because of stability caused by filming within and outside the U.S.
Can an O-2 non-resident have dual intent?
The answer is no, O-2 non-residents should have a foreign residence that they intend to maintain; this condition is not enforced on O-1 aliens.
Who can file the O petition?
Category O non-residents cannot self-petition. Only a U.S. agent or employer can file an application which should be filed with the USCIS Service Center in the region where the O-1 non-resident plans to work. A non-resident planning to work for several employers should have applications filed for them by each employer in their individual area unless the application is filed by “an established agent.” Agents are individuals approved by foreign employers to file an I-129 application and to accept procedure assistance.
What evidence should the O petition file?
An O supplement should be filed with an I-129 application requesting O status. An application cannot be filed more than six months before needing the non-resident’s services. The application should include copies of written agreements between the applicant and the beneficiary or, when there is no written agreement, the time period requested for the visa, a description of the type of the activities or events, a summarization of the conditions of the vocal contract under which the non-resident will be employed, and a copy of the schedule of events where the beneficiary will work. An O-1 application can include only one person while an O-2 application can include several beneficiaries which should be listed on an accompanying form. The U.S. State Department prevents the exchange of O-2 personnel. Substantial changes to a beneficiary’s conditions and terms of employment or suitability must be filed in a revised application with the USCIS Service Center in the region where the original application was filed.
How long can I stay in the U.S. as an O visa holder?
The O non-resident can stay for a period of up to three years which is dependent on the time needed to complete the activity or event which the non-resident is admitted to do. O-1 visa status is renewable in one year segments or until the event is completed.
If I obtain an O-1 visa, can my family join me?
The answer is yes. An O-1 visa holder’s spouse and children can be admitted to the U.S. using O-3 status. Evidence of the relationship must be shown by the dependents. Although dependents cannot be employed, they may go to school or a university.
What is the fee for an O petition?
Please see following Aria Law Group legal fee chart.
What services does the legal fee pay for?
Our firm will provide all services required to file your O application, including:
We will obtain sponsorship from your employer or prospective employer by discussing your application with them.
We will advise you about selecting the best candidates for writing recommendation letters for you.
We will draft the recommendations letters from the information provided for your sponsors to review and/or sign.
We will draft the letter for the employer to revise and sign detailing your job offer which will describe the project, position, and qualifications.
We will help you obtain the expert opinion and statement from the impartial consulting association or suitable peer group concerning the expert services that you will provide.
We will provide you with a list of supplementary evidence that should be prepared with the application.
We will organize, according to USCIS guidelines, the required evidence for the O-1 application.
We will draft the application letter and revise it until it meets your approval.
We will submit the complete application to the appropriate USCIS center.
We will contact the USCIS to inquire about the status of your case, and
We will respond to the RFE will appeal the case if denied.
What is the amount of the filing fee for an O visa?
The O visa filing fee to be paid is $325.
Can an O status be awarded to work in an open market as a freelancer?
The answer is no, a non-resident in O visa classification can only be allowed to enter the U.S. to work in detailed, recognized event areas. An O visa cannot be given to a non-resident to enter as a freelancer in the U.S. Some instances of a project area are a conference, a lecture series, a business project, a convention, an academic year, a scientific project, an engagement, a tour, or an exhibit.
Can a non-resident do a job other than the recognized event?
The answer is no. A non-resident in O-1 status may only work when it is connected to recognized work events and a revised application should be filed when adding events not already detailed in the application. An entertainer or artist agreeing to extra engagements or performances that demand a non-resident of O-1 visa rank is an exception to the rule. An amended application is not expected for these cases.
What is an expert opinion?
The application must contain documentation of expert opinion. The business should refer to a labor association, management association, or a related peer group in the field of the non-resident’s expertise. In most cases, consulting documentation is provided as an expert opinion letter from the applicable expert in the specified area. An expert judgment is not necessary if the applicant can prove that there is not an expert in this instance. If the applicant needs priority processing of the O application, an expert opinion from the applicable expert does not need to be presented with the application. Priority processing can be awarded for O-1 applications for a non-resident who works in athletics, entertainment, or the arts.

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