What is an O Visa?


Do you wish to work in the United States for a limited period of time before returning to your home country?

If so, the O-1 visa might be right for you. This visa is designed for individuals with “extraordinary” abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, film, or athletics. STEM workers, in particular, are often beneficiaries of these visas. 

An O-2 visa even allows you to bring your assistants over, whereas an O-3 visa allows you to bring your spouse and children. 

Who qualifies for an O visa?

You may qualify for an O-visa if you can prove you have distinguished yourself in your field. Ways you might prove distinction include:

  1. Being invited to judge the work of your peers.
  2. Publishing articles in major journals or major trade publications. 
  3. Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements.
  4. Employed as a critical member of a start-up team.
  5. Making an original contribution of major significance to your field.
  6. You’ve commanded a high salary.
  7. You’ve won nationally or internationally recognized prizes.

You can provide any proof which tends to show that you’ve distinguished yourself in the field. 

If you are applying for an O-2 visa, you must demonstrate how your assistance is vital to the O-1 visa holder’s activities. 

How long can you stay on an O-visa?

The initial period of stay is up to three years, though you must declare a specific event or activity you’ll be involved in. 

Examples could include participating in a research project or filming a motion picture. 

You will receive an additional ten days prior to the validity period and an additional ten days after, but you’ll only be authorized to work during the validity period.

Can you extend an O-visa? 

Yes. USCIS determines the amount of time you need to finish the initial project or activity and then gives you one-year increments. 

You may even change employers if necessary, but the new employer must file Form I-129 with USCIS.

How do you apply for an O-visa?

Your employer must fill out Form I-129 on your behalf and submit the required evidence according to the instructions on the form. You must also provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group to help prove that you are a person of exceptional ability.

Your employer must also submit a copy of a written employment contract, as well as an itinerary explaining the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for those activities, and a copy of the itinerary if applicable.

Get Help Today 

If the O-1 visa is not right for you, there may be other visas you can pursue. Our law office can help. If you are trying to get an employee into the United States on an O-visa, we can certainly help.

Contact Hykel Law to get started today.

See also:

How Does an Employment-Based Green Card Work? 

How Does the EB-5 Visa Work?

How Much Money Do You Need to Immigrate to the United States?

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