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O-1 Extraordinary Ability Work Visa

O-1 Visa

The O-1 visa is for foreigners who demonstrate “extraordinary ability” and sustained national or international acclaim in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics. For those in Motion Picture/TV industries, the foreigner must demonstrate “extraordinary achievement”. Foreigners in the Sciences, Education, Business and Athletics have the highest burden of proof: they must show that they are at the top of their field. Foreigners in the Arts need only prove that they are ‘prominent’. The O-1 is a sponsored visa; the sponsor may be a single employer, or an ‘agent’ who sponsors the foreigner so that they may work for a number of employers.

The O-1 is granted for up to 3 years, and may be extended for 1 year to continue the same position, or for 3 years if the sponsor or job changes. There is no limitation on number of extensions. While O-1s need not have strong ‘home ties’, they are not allowed to ‘intend to immigrate’ to the same extent as H-1B or L-1 visa holders.

Our Law Firm regularly files successful O-1 petitions for models, actors, athletic coaches (mainly squash), graphic designers, research scientists, architects and other professions.

O-2 Visa

The O-2 is for foreigners whose work is essential to the O-1’s performance. In general, the foreigner must have worked with the O-1 visa holder for at least 1 year. The spouse and unmarried children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders are entitled to O-3 visas for the full length of the O-1’s visa period. O-3 visa holders may not work.

Successful Cases


March 2015 ; O-1 visa - Our law office received Approval on an O-1 visa petition for a 25-yr old Sous-Chef. The case is noteworthy b/c of the lack of published material about the Chef. The primary evidence consisted of the offer of employment & letters from prior employers confirming the Chef?s expertise and experience. We worked diligently to ensure those letters contained sufficient information to enable Immigration to approve the case.