The O1 visa is a type of US visa offered to the nonresidents of the United States. People who have outstanding abilities in their filed can avail of this visa. These fields can be of any subject like business, Physical Sciences, engineering, medical fields, arts, or education. This O1 visa can be considered as equivalent to the first preference of EB-1 (Employment-Based Green Card), which allows permanent residence to any non-resident in the United States. One of the O1 Visa requirements is that; Applicants are asked to prove their extraordinary skills and abilities, based on which they are applying for an O1 visa. Mostly other visas can be used for a limited time, but Visa O1 holders can pursue residence until three years.

As broad terms and conditions are required to fill for obtaining an O1 visa, only a few people get able to meet O-1 visa criteria.

It allows the visa holders to stay in the United States and to use their skills in the relevant filed for three years. In addition to this advantage, O-1 visa holders also get an extravagant benefit. They can apply for Green card and go from an O-1 visa to Green Card. The O-1 visa is a twofold objective visa; it means its holders can apply green card as well as residence allowance in the US.

O-1 Visa Cost

An O-1 visa is reasonably priced as compared to other visa types. You have to pay only $460 as the basic filing fee for the I-129 petition and the $190 charges for the DS-160 online application. It’s just in the case when you are nonresident of the US and going through the process of consular dealing. Also, if you want to process your file and petition more quickly in urgent cases, you can pay $1225 to minimize the period of processing from 6 months to only 15 days. To summarize, the O-1 visa costs only between $460 and $650 for the usual case (6 months time period ).

O-1 Visa Subcategories

According to the rules and regulations of the United States’ immigration authority, there are two basic categories of O-1 Visa.

  • O-1 A
  • O-1 B

O-1A visa is specifically for those who have incredible abilities in the fields of sciences, education, marketing, or sports (excluding the arts, film, or television industry).

O-1B visa is mainly for those who have unusual abilities in the arts or outstanding success in film or television industry.

O-1A Visa

As described earlier, O-1A visa is for people who have extraordinary abilities in business, education, science, and sports for residence purpose in the U.S. they can’t only visit but also they have chances to work here in units states, but can also do work here in any of US organization or company. That is the reason; the applicant must have a job in the US to get an O-1A visa. Candidate should apply and have a proposed petition from an employer in the U.S to commence the process of getting this visa. You have to prove your skills; submit a certificate or award proof as evidence of extraordinary abilities. This can be the manifestation of your national or international credit in the specific field of interest.

Also, it’s not enough to be linked with a highly reputable company or organization. You should be expert and extraordinary in your skills individually; the US embassy not consider group or company achievements as a whole. This is the only difference with other U.S visas. Like, for other visas, you just need to have an employer to sponsor you, but in the case of O-1, A visa proof of skills is also necessary.

Requirements for O-1A visa 

If you are going to apply for O-1A visa, you should keep in mind the following points

  • If you have received an award such as Pulitzer Prize or an Olympic medal
  • Won any prize for your excellence in any of relevant fields
  • Published articles or research work for your specific field
  • Have done innovative research in any of the above-mentioned fields
  • Have been rewarded with a high wages for your skills and role

Note: If you have received an Olympics medal or a Pulitzer Prize, then you involuntarily are eligible to apply for the O-1A visa.

O-1B Visa

O-1B visa is a subtype of O-1 visa for those who want residence and work in the United States having expertise in the fields of art, television, and film industries. They get a chance to showcase their skills within the United States. Condition to get this visa is that; people who want to acquire O-1B visas have need to give proof of their extraordinary abilities. It would be the evidence that they have attained some prize or medal in their specific filed, and they are recognized nationally or internationally in relevant industries.

The O-1B visa isn’t challenging to get; anyone who can meet the requirements is eligible to apply for a job in the U.S and residence. You can’t declare your skills if your organization has won the prize for that skills; you hare to prove your skills for yourself. The U.S Embassy considers each O-1B visa applicant as an individual case; you will not qualify for a visa if you don’t have skills individually. The first element of O-1B visa application processing is to get a job in the U.S. Your post must be relevant to your astonishing talent and success. For instance, you cannot be a great artist and can’t do work in any other company if you apply, and your job is not related to your skills, and you will not be awarded the O-1B visa.

Requirements for an O-1B visa 

To qualify for an O-1B visa, you should have some abilities as well as their evidence to claim your prize or award. Either having any 3 of the following achievements, you are eligible for getting an O-1B visa.

· You have had a principal role in an art, film, or television motion picture.

  • You have gained a national or international award from different article publications.
  • You have been an associate member of a highly reputable industry relevant to film or picture production
  • The innovative work you have done has been highly triumphant commercially all over the world.
  • You have had some critics and other chief persons of relevant industry admiring you in articles or journals
  • You have been highly paid for your high-quality services in the industry

If you have won an award or prize, you automatically qualify for the O-1B visa. Since not many people have had that achievements and awards nationally or globally, so just fulfilling the requirements is quite enough proof for your visa proposal acceptance.

O-1 Visa Benefits 

O-1 Visa has several other benefits over other types of work visas. There is no limit of visas that exist for annual issuance; unlimited visas can be issued by the united states citizen and immigration service. The one who has got an O-1 visa may pursue permanent residency in the US. They can file a petition for a Green card without requiring labor certification. Some of the other O-1 visa advantages are below.

  • O-1visa is issued quite quickly
  • O-1visa is granted upto a maximum of 3 years, yet it can be extended in case of need for a one-year extension
  • You can apply for visa extension unlimited times.
  • An O-1 visa holder can bring his family in the US, and they can travel in or out of the country until the validation of visas.
  • Family visa goes valid as long as O-1 visa holder has valid Visa.

How Long an O-1 Visa Valid for?

From the time of visa approval, the O-1 visa is valid for three years maximum. If you need to extend your visa validation after three years, you will have to go for a petition. Your employer will have to submit verification for the reason of visa extension, as you need a visa extension to continue providing your services. They will be asked to case a new Form I-129 for this purpose. Each extension is valid for 1-year more. However, you can apply for visa extension unlimited times.

Who can be a Sponsor?

Most visas that necessitate sponsorship sustain that the sponsor should be an employer in the US. But, because O-1 visa applicants are often contracted rather than hired at will, the sponsor of this type of visa can either be an employer or any U.S. agent.

An agent is somebody that is hired as a depiction of service and has the interest of the O-1 immigrant. This description states that you don’t need to be committed with any one employer to being qualified for the O-1 Visa. You simply need someone to stand for you who can sponsor you for the O-1 visa. It holds the condition that that person will represent you the whole time your O-1 visa duration of stay.

Also, you can go the route of getting a direct employer. In this case, they will need to make sure that they can stay with that employer for the duration of their stay.

Can I Bring Family Members with an O-1 visa 

There is another benefit of an O-1 visa, and you can bring your members too in the US. They can go for an O3 visa to get their case filed for a stay in the US. Qualified members are the spouse or 21-year-old unmarried children for this visa. They get a right to stay in the U.S with a validation of O3 visa. Their stay will go for the same length as your O1 visa. If you get the visa extension or attain a Green Card, your family members will get the same reimbursement too. O3 visa holders can only visit and study in the U.S, but they cannot work.

Applicants need to file Form DS-160 to bring their m=family members or spouse over O- 1 visa.

O-1 Visa Application Process

The application process for the O1 visa is the same as other work visas. The employer must take the first step of application submission. For that, you will first have to discover a job offer in the U.S. When the employer declares that he wants to hire you, then you can start the application process. Go to submit pieces of evidence of the achievements based on which you are applying for an O1 visa.

There are the following necessary steps to follow for the application procedure.

Step#1 File your petition for the O1 visa

Your employer will need to file an appeal to the united states citizenship, and immigration service’s on your behalf so that you can start working there. This can be done by sending Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers to USCIS, together with the proofs that you fulfill the requirements for the O1 visa ( you have extraordinary abilities). These can be any certificates, newspaper clippings of your articles, verifications by a highly acclaimed organization, or other proofs that can claim your extraordinary abilities.

For example, if you are claiming to have made scientific contributions to your field, you have to:

  • Show where your work is mentioned( journal name)
  • Have proof from your supervisor or colleagues.
  • Send the journal that published your research work to USCIS.

The petition must be sent to USCIS at least 45 days before you are planned to start working, and it costs $460, which your employer must pay. USCIS will evaluate the petition; they can either deny it or approve it by issuing Form I-797. If relevant department of immigration service approves the petition, then your employer work is completed. Now the employee will have to start the process of application.

Step#2 File Form DS-160

Go to file Form DS-160. This step of the application will require you to put your information and your reason to visit the United States. Depending upon the type of visa, it can ask you different questions. In the end, when you have done with the form, you will get a confirmation code that you can use later on in the application process.

Step#3 Pay the O1 visa fee

The fee for O1 visa cost application is $190. You have to pay this fee to continue visa application processing. In addition to the application fee, you might also have to pay other charges depending on your home country. Get receipts of all the payments deposited as a proof to use for in next application procedure

Step#4 Schedule an interview with the US Embassy

All applicants aging between 13 years old to 80 years old must go through an interview with the U.S Embassy when they apply for a visa. That is why you must schedule your interview with an official US embassy agent. Try to schedule your interview as soon as possible since U.S Embassies might have a high workload, and you could end up waiting a long time to complete the procedure. When you schedule your interview, you will get an interview confirmation letter that you need to bring with you to the Embassy. Take essential documents and evidence, too, at the time of the interview.

O-1 Visa Processing Time

After you have done your interview, you will have to wait for the visa to be processed. The usual timing for O1 visa processing time is 2-3 months. However, if you need your visa, you can go for premium processing. For this, you have to pay an extra amount of $1,225.With premium processing; your visa processing time will reduce to 15days. After the visa has been processed, you will be notified whether you are approved or denied for immigration

O-1 Visa to Green Card 

After getting an O-1 visa, you can also go for Green Card. This intent of getting a Green Card on an O1 visa is called ‘dual intent.’ It allows the visa holder to pursue legal permanent resident (green card) status while still being a nonimmigrant.

The O-1 visa is among those visas that are considered dual intent, so your status will not be endangered by filing a petition for a green card. If you want to make your stay a permanent one in the U.S, you can go from O-1 status to a green card.

You first need to decide which green card you would like to hunt because the qualifications for different types of visas are almost similar. Most O-1 holders choose the EB-1 Green Card for non-residents of US, EB-2 Green Card, or EB-3 Green Card to get residence in the US with all lawful process.

Once you decide which green card you would like to acquire, then you will have to file an I-140 petition. Once your request is received by the united states citizenship and immigration services, you will see the final action date of your green card. Your visa number will be made available, and you will be able to go for the next step.

When your priority date for a green card is current, you can file an I-485 form and suitable fees to the USCIS to transfer your status from O-1 to green card status. Depending on which green card you have selected and the final action dates in the visa dispatch, this process can take several years or only a few months. Have words with your immigration attorney to find out more about your unique case.

Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!

The O-1 visa processing requires precision. For legal help in your case contact LA’s best immigration lawyer.


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