The O-1 visa category permits individuals with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sciences, business, or athletics, or those with “extraordinary achievement” in the motion picture or television industry to live and work temporarily in the U.S.
The immigration service defines “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, business, or athletics to mean “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” Those meeting this standard receive an O-1A visa. The immigration service defines “extraordinary ability” in the arts as “distinction,” meaning “a high level of achievement in the field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered.” Those meeting this standard receive an O-1B visa.
“Extraordinary achievement” in the motion picture or television industry means “a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered.”
As examples, we have prepared successful O-1 petitions for:
- A nationally renowned gospel singer
- A museum curator for one of the country’s finest art museums
- An internationally ranked martial artist
- A sought after horse rider and trainer
The O-1 category allows for an initial 3 year stay, which can be extended indefinitely in 1 year increments. A benefit of the category is that it can provide a natural transition to the green card via the EB-1 category for individuals with extraordinary ability.