An O Visa is a non-immigrant visa that is granted to foreigners or aliens who have an extraordinary aptitude in the arts, athletics, business, sciences and education. This is also applicable to individuals in the motion picture and television industry who have garnered national or international recognition for their achievements.
O-1A is granted to those who fall under the arts, athletics, business, sciences and education classification. For those who fall under the movie or television industry an O-1B visa is granted. O-2 visas may also be given out to accompanying individuals to assist an O-1A or O-1B visa holder. These accompanying individuals must be essential to the production or work to be performed.
O1 Visa Requirements
For a person to be classified as having extraordinary ability in his field evidence must be provided. This can be done through distinctions given through awards of excellence or commendations. Examples of such would include Nobel Prize awards and other internationally recognized prizes. Membership in organizations, published materials, participation in panels and other similar evidence can all help prove extra ordinary ability. A high salary as a result of abilities in work may also be considered evidence.
Finding sufficient evidence or supporting facts to prove extraordinary ability may be quite difficult. Many times those seeking to enter the United States with this type of visa will need to make sure that they provide the right documentation. In many cases assistance from a professional may be needed in order to provide the necessary proof.
Processing and Period of Stay
Like many other visa types the O Visa takes about one month to process. This time frame may change depending on the amount of applications that are submitted. This process may be quickened through expedited processing where a premium fee of $1000 is paid for. A decision is given after only 15 calendar days. As for the duration of the stay allowed for O visa holders, it is usually three years at a time. There is no total or overall time limit for staying in the country but beneficiaries must have intent to stay in the U.S.
For O visa holders seeking to take their family along with them during their stay, it is possible. The spouse and children of the visa holder may qualify and be given an O-3 visa. This is applicable both for the family members of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.