O Visa For Workers With Extraordinary Ability
The O visa is a non-immigrant US working visa, for people with extraordinary abilities in certain fields and sectors and their essential personnel. To apply for an O-1 visa or O-2 visa, the prospective applicant must be the beneficiary of a petition approved by the USCIS prior to visa issuance. A Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, which is explained in more details in US Working Visas page, approved by USCIS, is a necessary prerequisite for obtaining the O visa at the US Embassy or US Consulate.
The O visa was created specifically for the admission of persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television production, and their support personnel. Many such workers were previously classified as H-1B non-immigrant workers. Since the H-1B visa classification was not originally designed to address these classes of activities, Congress determined that the workers with extraordinary ability should be separated from the H1B classification and treated independently. It must be noticed that the requirements of O visa are much higher than that of H-1B visa. O status could be a suitable solution for those in H-1B status who have exhausted the full-authorized stay.
Usually, the approved O Visa is granted for a period of time determined by USCIS to be necessary to accomplish the event or activity, not to exceed three years. Thereafter, extensions of the visa are usually given in order to continue or complete the same activity or event specified in the original petition, in one year increment, but there is always need of a new petition. The O status, theoretically, it can be indefinite.
If you want to apply for an O visa, if you are considering applying for an O visa, whether the O visa is the appropriate US working visa for you or for another employee of the Company, please contact us, email our US Lawyer, or take the time to complete the General Assessment Form if you are not sure which visa would be suitable for you.
The USCIS will adjudicate the petitions for O visa and only the ones meeting strict requirements will be considered for approval. The duty of the US attorney is verifying that all the required elements for O visa are present and proving to the USCIS that the applicant qualifies for this specific US working visa. The minimum necessary prerequisite in evaluating entitlement to O visa is that the worker must be coming to the United States to perform services in his or her area of expertise.
USCIS has the authority and the duty to determine whether these requirements for O visa, which are examined in the petition process, have been met, basing the decision on the supporting documents which the US attorney on behalf of the applicant will submit. Once the Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker is approved, it will be possible to apply for the O visa at the US Embassy or US Consulate.