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O-1 Visa: Your Guide to a Successful O-1 Application

Posted by Kripa Upadhyay | May 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

O-1 Visa: Your Guide to a Successful O-1 Application

If you're an international resident seeking a way to live and work in the United States temporarily, you may be in luck. The O-1 visa is a visa classification for temporary workers and is granted to a noncitizen who possesses extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or arts. If you think you may have “extraordinary ability” as described by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it's vital that you get in touch with an experienced Seattle Immigration lawyer who may be able to help you successfully submit an O-1 visa application.

The O-1 visa comes with many advantages, including applying for an O-1 visa and a green card simultaneously. So, if you're looking to settle permanently in the United States in the future, an O-1 visa won't affect your plans. However, it's crucial to note that you can't file for an O-1 visa independently, as someone must file a petition for you. Here's what you need to know about the O-1 visa application process and the keys to getting successfully approved.

What is an O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa category is one that, if approved, allows an applicant to be admitted to the United States for the validity period designated on the petition, plus 10 additional days before and after the validity period begins and ends. The O-1 visa has an initial stay period of three years, after which individuals can apply for renewals that the government may grant for up to a year. 

To be approved for an O-1 visa, you must demonstrate to the U.S. government that you possess “extraordinary abilities.” The O-1 visa is split into two groups: O-1A for the sciences, athletics, and business, and O-1B for artists. While “extraordinary ability” must be met in both cases, the definition is slightly different for each group. Here's what you need to know about each:

O-1A Visa

You fall into this category if you have extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. To qualify for an O-1A visa, you have to show national or international acclaim and recognition in your field. This could mean demonstrating that you've received significant awards, membership in groups that require outstanding achievement, published articles about your work, or a high salary for your services. If these criteria don't specifically apply to your line of work, you may still show “comparable evidence” that proves your extraordinary abilities.

O-1B Visa

For the O-1B visa, extraordinary ability is defined as distinction in the arts or extraordinary ability in the motion picture or television industry. This may mean those in the following categories:

  • Performing, visual, fine and culinary artists
  • Set, sound, lighting designers
  • Directors, conductors, choreographers
  • Costume designers, stage technicians, makeup artists

To demonstrate extraordinary ability, you may show major awards or prizes, a lead or starring role, significant recognition, or a high salary for your services. Note that to be approved for an O-1B visa, you must also be coming to the U.S. to perform in the area of extraordinary ability.

How to Successfully Submit an O-1 Visa Application

It's important to note that individuals can't petition themselves for an O-1 visa. Instead, an employer, agent, citizen, or business manager must petition for the foreign beneficiary. To better help frame your application for success, be sure to read through the application thoroughly to ensure you fully qualify. Likewise, supplement your application with a written letter of recommendation from a group in your area of ability. Provide as much evidence as you feel fit that may demonstrate your abilities, such as a receipt of any prizes you've won, proof of membership to an outstanding group, published material, a scientific study, etc. 

Note, as well, that there's a lot of gray area when it comes to the O-1 visa application. For example, what qualifies as a significant commercial success? How high a salary is enough? Which publishers and media outlets are acceptable? That's where we come in. At Orbit Law, our experience with O-1 visa applications allows us to know what works and what doesn't, and our knowledgeable Seattle Immigration attorneys will help point you in the right direction.

Contact an Experienced Seattle Immigration Lawyer for Help with Your O-1 Visa

If you're a foreign resident seeking temporary United States residency through an O-1 visa, it's crucial that you get in touch with a seasoned Seattle immigration lawyer. Fortunately, help is right around the corner. At Orbit Law, our team is dedicated to protecting your interests during the O-1 visa application process. We understand how important it is to reach your goals and obtain the right to work in the United States legally. We're here to help make sure that your application is framed for the best chances of success.

At Orbit Law, our lawyers have far-reaching knowledge and training in United States immigration laws, and we're dedicated to helping all of our clients successfully submit their O-1 visa applications. We've assisted a number of clients seeking both temporary and permanent U.S. residence through an O-1 visa application, and we're enthusiastic about helping you through this process. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (206) 312-8086 or complete our online contact form today.

About the Author

Kripa Upadhyay

Kripa Upadhyay Founder/Attorney [email protected] EDUCATION Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Juris Doctor (JD)  May 2007 ADMISSIONS Washington State Bar Association: Admitted May 2008 U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Washington: Admitted 2009 U.S...


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