Temporary Visas


Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

O-1, O-2 & O-3 Visas (a/k/a o1 or 01 visas)

O-1 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics, film or television. As a practical matter, a distinguished and very accomplished individual in almost any field may qualify for O-1 classification, if famous enough. This visa requires a petition by a U.S. employer or agent with proof of the work offered in the United States, three or more different types of evidence of the individual’s renown in the field of endeavor, and an advisory opinion from the relevant labor union, peer group or expert in the United States. As detailed more fully on the What is an O-1? page, there are three different legal standards for how extraordinary the alien must be, depending on the field of endeavor.

In athletics, education, business and the sciences, an O-1A (o1a) alien must show a record of sustained national or international acclaim, demonstrating that he or she has reached the very top of the field of endeavor. This requires proof that you are in the top 1-2% in your field of endeavor. 

An O-1B (o1b) alien of extraordinary achievement in motion pictures and television (now construed to include online streaming video of film or television type programming for Internet distribution, but not content creators who self-publish, such as vloggers and podcasters) must show that he or she has attained a degree of renown significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the field.

An O-1B alien of extraordinary ability in the arts must show that he or she has achieved a sustained national or international record of distinction in the field of endeavor.

An O-1 visa can be issued initially for up to three years, and may be renewed thereafter in one-year increments for extension in the same job, and in increments of up to three years for new employment. There is no maximum stay limit on O-1 extensions.

The O-2 visa is available for accompanying essential support personnel coming to the United States solely to assist with a performance, production or tour by an O-1 alien, who have worked with the O-1 alien for a year or more, or whose participation is essential to the success and continuity of a project for which substantial pre- and post-production takes place outside the United States.

Dependent spouses and minor children may be granted O-3 visas, but no work authorization is available to them.

Want more information about aliens of extraordinary ability visas? Contact Karin Wolman today!

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