Professionals immigrating to the United States may be so well qualified that they are eligible for a special kind of visa known as the O-1 visa.
There are many different types of visas available for immigrants, and non-immigrants, from the K-1 to the O-1, and everything in between. It can be hard to decide which visa you qualify for; what if you qualify for more than one? Seeking the advice of an experienced immigration attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law can help get your visa approved and on its way to you as soon as possible.
At Andrew T. Thomas law, our goal is to help clients successfully move through the complicated immigration system and obtain legal status. We do this by taking the time to build long-lasting relationships with our clients and tailoring unique, well-thought-out legal strategies designed to meet each individual client’s goals. Contact us today, and let’s start building a strong immigration case.
What is an O-1 Visa?
The United States offers O-1 visas for people that show extraordinary abilities in their fields, including science, education, business, and athletics. This visa is set aside for those who have risen to the top of their profession. Additionally, these people must be coming temporarily to the U.S. to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability. The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa.
O-1 Visa Subcategories
- O-1A: This visa is for people with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, education, or athletics. It excludes the arts, motion pictures, and the television industry.
- O-1B: This visa is for people with extraordinary ability or achievement in the arts, motion picture, or television industry.
O-1 Visa Benefits
There are several benefits of an O-1 visa, including:
- There is no annual cap associated with the O-1 visa meaning there is no restriction on the number of visas that can be issued each year.
- The O-1 visa is renewable indefinitely
- There is no minimum salary required for an O-1 visa, and the terms of employment can be a lot more flexible than with the H-1B visa.
- There is also no minimum education requirement for the O-1 visa.
- The O-1 visa filing fees are a lot less than the H-1B visa fees.
- You can apply for the O-1 visa year-round.
How Long is an O-1 Visa Valid For?
The O-visa is initially approved for up to three years. After that, you can extend your O-visa in one-year increments or more, depending on the circumstances.
Who Can be a Sponsor?
People cannot petition themselves for O visa status. It has to be done by an employer, U.S. agent, or U.S. citizen, or business manager. If the person has multiple employers, each employer must file a separate petition unless an agent is used. Agents may petition for multiple employers.
What About Family Members?
If an O-1 visa applicant has a spouse or children they want to bring to the U.S. with them, a spouse and children under age 21 can apply for an 0-3 visa. They won’t be permitted to work while in the United States, but they can study.
O-1 Visa Application Process
- To apply for an O-1 visa, an employer or U.S. agent must first file Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- In addition to the form, the petitioner must submit evidence in the form of: A written opinion from a peer group or person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability. A copy of a written contract between the petitioner and visa applicant or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement.Explanation of the nature of the events or activities the applicant must attend. The dates for the event and a copy of the itinerary for the events or activities.The petitioner must finally provide evidence demonstrating the applicant’s extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics.
Necessary Documents for an O1 Visa
The supporting documentation for an O1 visa has to include proof that the beneficiary, such as a major internationally recognized award or other evidence that will show the candidate is eligible. That evidence can include published material in major trade publications that relate to the beneficiary’s work in the field they are seeking classification or other evidence of major significance in the field.
Proving that the beneficiary is a member of an association related to their field that requires outstanding achievements for their members can be used as evidence.
The beneficiary can supply documents showing they are employed in a critical or essential capacity for establishments or organizations with a distinguished reputation or that they have commanded a high salary may also be used as supporting documentation. Other reliable evidence can also be used; however, the beneficiary will need at least three pieces of evidence in total.
Other required documents include a valid passport, the DS-160 Form, a picture of yourself according to the U.S. Department of State requirements, the I-797 Approval Notice, and the interview appointment letter.
O-1 Visa Processing Time
Overall, the O-1 visa processing time is pretty fast and should arrive within two to three months. If you can’t wait two to three months, the USCIS has the option to expedite the O-1 visa processing time. With premium processing and a fee of $1,440, you can receive the visa in 15 days.
O-1 Visa to Green Card
The good news is that the O-1 visa is known as a “dual intent visa,” which means O-1 visa holders can pursue legal permanent residency via a green card. Most 0-1 visa holders apply for the EB-1 green card because the requirements are similar to those of the O-1 visa, and the processing time is relatively quick.
To move from the non-immigrant O-1 visa to the EB-1 green card, follow these steps:
- Your employer must file an I-140 petition with USCIS.
- You are immediately eligible to file to adjust your status as soon as your I-140 petition is approved.
Contact ATT Law Today!
Even the smallest error or omission can ruin your chances of having your O-1 visa approved. Don’t take that risk and work with our team of immigration experts. We have been helping clients live their American Dream since ( ). Contact us today; our Texas immigration lawyers are ready to guide you through the step-by-step process to get our O-1 visa today.
Frequently Asked Questions About O-1 Visas
How long does it take to get an O-1 Visa?
It takes about 2-3 months for the USCIS to process 0-1 visa applications. There is also an option for premium processing which will give you your answer in just 15 days. It costs $1,500.
Can I Work with an O-1 Visa?
O-1 visa holders are only authorized to work for the organization that sponsors their O-1 petition.
Is an O-1 Visa better than an H1b?
The O-1 visa has a number of advantages, including a longer application window, there is no annual visa cap, and there are no salary or education requirements.
Does an O-1 visa lead to a green card?
It can, but you must apply, and your employer must file an I-140 petition with USCIS.
Who is eligible for an O-1 Visa?
To qualify for an O-1 visa, one must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim, or a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry. You must also be coming to the United States temporarily to continue work in the area of your extraordinary ability.