The O visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics

What Is O-Visa ?

A non-immigrant U.S. visa category is commonly known as O, but from the regulatory standpoint, an O1 visa is the most important under this.

The O1 is for individuals planning to enter the U.S. for work purposes like any other employment-based non-immigrant visa. Still, the only difference lies in the abilities of the person applying for the same. As per USCIS guidelines, the applicant’s ability or achievement that differentiates them from applicants of other work visas is their extraordinary achievements in specific fields, which bought them international fame like:

  1. Motion Pictures & television industry
  2. Art
  3. Sciences
  4. Education
  5. Sports
  6. Business

What are the types of O visas?

There are subordinating visas for the O1, which the visa holder can use to bring their loved ones ( O3) or their assistants (O2) for the duration of their tenure of stay for specific events or performances. If you go by the USCIS guidelines, O1 has two subcategories the applicant should consider based on their expertise.

O-1A: Individuals possessing extraordinary ability in education, business, science, or athletics.

O-1B: Foreign nationals possessing nationally or internationally acclaimed, extraordinary ability in arts or outstanding achievement in motion pictures or television industry.

O-2:  For individuals who will accompany an artist or athlete under an O-1 visa to assist in a specific event or performance, the O-2 visa offers an opportunity to be an integral part of the support team. To qualify for an O-2 visa, the assistance provided by the person applying must be deemed essential to the successful execution of the event or performance.

The term “integral” implies that the assistance provided by the O-2 visa applicant is not merely optional or supplementary but rather crucial for the overall outcome. This means the person applying for the O-2 visa must possess specialized skills and experience directly related to the event or performance. Their role should be indispensable in ensuring the smooth operation, coordination, or enhancement of the artist or athlete’s work. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) carefully evaluates the applicant’s qualifications and contribution to determine the necessity and significance of their involvement. By granting O-2 visas, the U.S. government acknowledges the importance of these supporting individuals in facilitating the success of O-1 visa holders in their respective fields.

O-3 :

For individuals who are the spouse or children of individuals who have or are applying for an O-1 or O-2 visa, the O-3 visa provides an opportunity to accompany their family member to the United States. The O-3 visa is designed explicitly for dependents of O-1 and O-2 visa holders, allowing them to reside in the country for the same duration as the primary visa holder.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for the O-3 visa. It is important to note that the O-3 visa does not grant the right to work in the United States but allows dependents to study or engage in other educational activities. Additionally, O-3 visa holders may apply for a separate work visa to pursue employment opportunities during their stay. The O-3 visa offers a valuable opportunity for family members to accompany and support their loved ones working or performing in the United States under the O-1 or O-2 visa categories.

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Other Type Of Work Visa

Who qualifies for an O1 visa?

Let’s look at broader eligibility guidelines for an O1 visa. It is expertise in a specific field for which the individual has attained international or national fame. If we want to dive into the micro details, then it can be further explained as

People with expertise in business, science, Athletics, and education

  1. Having an extraordinary ability in a specific field.
  2. Have “sustained national or international acclaim.
  3. Show that they have risen to the upper echelon of their field.

People with expertise in Arts

  1. They are distinguished in their field.
  2. Have attained a ” high level of achievement.”
  3. Have skills and recognition above and beyond that normally seen in arts.

People with expertise in Film or television

  1. Have a record of extraordinary achievement.
  2. A superseding skill and recognition which is unusual for the film and television industry.
  3. Be widely recognized as being prominent in their field.

How to apply for O1 Visa?

The process starts with an employer or U.S. agent ( acting on behalf of a foreign employer) submitting Form I-129. The petitioner needs to follow the instructions carefully and include the necessary documents. If you want the process to be smooth, submit the form at least 45 days before the commencement of the job. The petitioner is allowed to file Form I-129 up to 6 months before the intended start date.

Essential documents to file the O1 visa petition:

Per the rules outlined in the USCIS policy manual along with Form I-129, the petitioner must include an advisory letter written by an organization of peers, such as a labor union or management organization, confirming the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability in the relevant field.

If peer organization is unavailable, the petitioner can skip the advisory letter requirement, and USCIS will rely solely on the evidence submitted with Form I-129. If the beneficiary has entered the United States using an advisory letter within the past two years, the petitioner can request a waiver of this requirement.

When submitting Form I-129, the petitioner must provide the employment contract or a written account of the verbal agreement that establishes the employer-employee relationship. Additionally, the petitioner must provide evidence to demonstrate that the beneficiary will be working in a job related to their “area of extraordinary ability” throughout the requested period. This evidence should include:

  1. description of the activities
  2. The activity’s start and end dates
  3. copy of the itinerary for the events.

Finally, the petitioner must provide proof of the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability, as described in the previous section. The evidence can consist of an award, nomination, or other alternatives that can act as proof.

Acceptable Evidence:

The acceptable forms will vary depending on the specific situation. If the beneficiary is applying for an O-1A visa, they may submit three of the following:

  1. Documents showing membership in a relevant organization that requires outstanding achievements from its members.
  2. Evidence of a nationally or internationally recognized award received by the beneficiary in their field.
  3. Proof of significant or essential employment by a highly esteemed organization, highlighting the beneficiary’s role.
  4. Documentary evidence demonstrating the beneficiary’s specific contributions to the field.
  5. Published professional or scholarly work in trade publications, major media, or journals.
  6. Evidence of substantial payment for duties performed in the field.
  7. Articles or other published work discussing the beneficiary’s significant influence in the field, including author, date, and title.
  8. Evidence of the beneficiary serving as a panel expert evaluating the work of others in the field.

For an O-1B visa application, the beneficiary may provide three of the following types of evidence:

  1. Testimonials from experts or agencies in the field affirming the beneficiary’s reputation.
  2. Proof of past “lead, starring, or critical” roles for highly reputable organizations.
  3. Evidence such as box office receipts, titles, ratings, or published material indicating the beneficiary’s major commercial or critically acclaimed successes.
  4. Documentary evidence such as reviews, articles, or testimonials published in prominent publications, demonstrating the beneficiary’s national or international reputation.
  5. Evidence of substantial payment for relevant services.
  6. Advertisements, reviews, publicity releases, endorsements, contracts, or publications indicate the beneficiary’s participation as a star or leading figure in significant productions or events.

Under certain circumstances, the petitioner may submit “comparable” evidence, provided they explain in writing why a specific criterion is insufficient and why the alternative evidence is considered “comparable” to the standard needs replacement.

How our O visa Attorney Can help ?

The application procedure for the O-1 visa is widely Complex. Our O Visa attorney, The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, collaborates with our seasoned immigration support team and the sponsor and applicant to submit an exceptionally comprehensive petition highlighting the applicant’s educational background, qualifications, and professional experience. When you reach out to our Immigration law Firm In New York, you’ll have the opportunity to consult with a qualified O visa attorney in New York, USA who is ready to :

  • Explain the O-1 Visa Application process and answer all your Questions.
  • Collect the required Documents and handle the Application paperwork.
  • Take all necessary steps to ensure that your visa application is handled correctly.

Our O Visa lawyer Experts at The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, are well-versed in navigating the intricacies of government agencies to secure the optimal results for our clients. Our commitment lies in identifying effective solutions tailored to your needs. We are dedicated to providing individualized care, and our O-1 visa attorney in NYC, USA, will invest time and resources into your case.

Call Our O Visa Lawyer for Immediate Help

The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, provides exceptional legal services to clients seeking assistance with O visa applications. Our experienced O visa lawyer profoundly understands the complex immigration laws and regulations surrounding the O-1 visa category. Whether you are an extraordinary individual in science, arts, education, business, or athletics, our team is well-equipped to guide you through the application process.

If you are considering applying for an O-1 visa and need legal guidance, we are here to help. Our O visa lawyer will work closely with you to assess your eligibility, gather the necessary documentation, and prepare a solid case to maximize your chances of success. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 212-354-1010 or Contact us through our website. We understand the importance of your O visa application and are committed to providing you with the personalized attention and support you deserve.


Technically there are three types of O visas, Q1 is for people with extraordinary ability in the field of art, television and motion pictures, Q2 is for support staff of Q1 holders, and Q3 is for family members of the Q1 holders.

Yes, an O visa requires sponsorship, but it is not mandatory; unlike other work visas, the sponsor may be a company. Any individual who is a US citizen can become the sponsor.

The O-1 visa is valid for a maximum of three years, and in most cases, USCIS issues the visa for a period specific event, production or activity for a short period.

Yes, the answer is one apply for a change to status to green card while in status subject to the condition the person adheres to green card guidelines.

From the perspective of work visas, both Q and H1B visas carry similar benefits, but they apply for specific cases. Q is specifically for people in the art, entertainment and media industry for a shorter period, and H1B is for professionals in a specialty occupation in science, engineering and management to work with a US employer for a more extended period. As per common knowledge, H1-B is always suggested for people in the early or mid-stage of their career, whereas O is people who have already advanced in their profession. 

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