The O-1 visa is for persons of extraordinary ability in the arts and entertainment, athletics, sciences, business and education. In actual fact, anyone who excels in his or her field or specialty can qualify for an O visa.
The O visa is the perfect visa for artists or athletes who do not usually have full-time permanent positions but rather undertake a series of short-term temporary assignments. The regulations provide that such individuals may use the services of an agent and do not require a full-time permanent position. Rather, they may have an agent sponsor them.
The criteria for the O visa are divided into separate categories as follows:
The arts include, but are not limited to, fine, visual, culinary and performing arts. Essential personnel such as directors, choreographers, set designers, make-up artists, stage technicians & animal trainers are included in this category.
Those in the arts must show "distinction" in their chosen fields, namely that they are prominent in their field, and have achieved a degree of skill and recognition over and above the general level. The applicant must show evidence of being nominated for, or being the recipient of, a significant national or international award, such as an Emmy, or meet three of the following criteria:
If the above criteria do not apply, comparable evidence may be submitted to prove eligibility.
Those in the film and television industry are held to a higher standard than those in the arts although the same criteria are used. They must show a history of "extraordinary achievement" rather then mere “distinction.”
Applicants in these areas must show that they are one of a small percentage to have reached the top of the field. They can show national or international acclaim through receipt of a major international award or show evidence that they meet three of the following criteria:
O-1 visas are usually issued for a period of three years. Thereafter, they may be extended indefinitely on an annual basis.
O-2 visas are available for support staff of the O-1 visa holders. Spouses and children of O-1 visa holders are granted O-3 visas.
This office has successfully obtained O-1 visas for individuals in a wide array of fields, including:
111 John Street, Suite 800
New York, NY 10038
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(212) 349-0156, (212)406-3677
Business hours: 10:00am-7:00pm
Evening and weekend appointments available.