Whether you’re a renowned actor or artist, professional athlete or video gamer, or scientist or businessperson, if you want to pursue temporary work in the U.S., then you’ll need a visa. An O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to pursue your career and work in the U.S.
There are two types of O-1 visas. An O-1A visa is for those with extraordinary ability in education, athletics, business, or science. An O-1B visa is for those with extraordinary ability in movies, television, or the arts. There are other categories of O visas that cover assistants and managers (O-2) and spouses and children (O-3).
O-1 visas are reserved for individuals who are recognized as being at the top of their professions. These applications require planning, precision, and documentation. The Bay Area immigration attorneys at Silver Law Firm can ensure that all of the detailed requirements are met and that your petition will pass muster with USCIS.
In addition to filing the actual petition form, O-1 applicants are required to submit a plethora of documentation. The documentation can include an advisory opinion written by your peer group, union, or management company; a copy of your contract; a detailed itinerary; and information about the person acting as your petition agent or as the agent for your U.S. employer(s).
On top of that, additional evidence must be submitted depending on the type of O-1 visa you seek. For example, if you are applying for an O-1A visa, you must either have received an internationally-recognized award – like a Nobel Prize – or submit documentation for three of the following eight criteria:
- National or international prizes or awards
- Membership in associations that require outstanding achievement
- Articles about you in professional journals, trade publications, or other media
- Original and significant contributions in your field
- Publication of scholarly articles
- Being highly paid
- Being an individual or panel judge in your field
- Displaying work at artistic exhibitions
- Playing a critical role in highly-regarded organizations or venues
Similarly, those applying for an O-1B visa must have either been nominated for or won a major award – like an Academy Award, Grammy, or Emmy – or submit documentation for three of the following six criteria:
- Slated to be the lead or star in a distinguished production or event
- Articles about achievements in trade journals, newspapers, magazines, or other media
- Slated to perform in a starring or critical role for highly-regarded organizations or venues
- Demonstrating major commercial or critical success
- Testimonials by experts, organizations, or critics
- Being highly paid compared to others in your field
An O-1 visa petition must be filed at least 45 days in advance, but can be filed up to a year in advance. Once it is granted, then you can apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate. The amount of time you can work and stay in the U.S. is determined by the USCIS, and can be up to three years. If you have not completed your work, you can file for extensions that can total up to one year.
The process of obtaining any O-type visa is complex, which is why you should consult with a San Francisco Bay Area immigration lawyer. The attorneys at Silver Law Firm are experienced in helping performers, gamers, athletes, and artists navigate the USCIS and ensuring that their crews, managers, and families arrive in the U.S. with their papers in order.