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O-1/O-2

The O-1 category is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The O-2 category is for certain aliens accompanying O-1 aliens in the arts or athletics. The O-3 category is for dependents of aliens in the foregoing categories.

Persons holding O-1 visa fall under the EB-1 category. They do not require Form ETA 9089/PERM to be filed in order to initiate their green card process. They are eligible to file for their permanent residency without requiring an employer to initiate the process for them

O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability "demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim."
"Extraordinary" is a high standard when applied to business persons, scientists, educators, and athletes, and a much lower one when applied to artists and entertainers. Artists and entertainers in the television and motion picture industries must show "a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement," a standard that falls somewhere in the middle. The achievements of all types of O-1 beneficiaries must be "recognized in the field through extensive documentation."

Scientists, Educators, Business Persons, and Athletes

The petitioner must prove "extraordinary ability" by providing evidence either of the beneficiary’s receipt of a "major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize" (and while perhaps insufficient on their own as evidence, nominations and placements for such awards), or documentation of at least three of the following:

  1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;
  2. Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  3. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;
  4. Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization;
  5. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media;
  7. Current or previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
  8. Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Artists and Entertainers (Except for Those Affiliated with Motion Picture or Television Productions)

Petitioners must show that the O-1 beneficiary artist meets the standard of distinction, i.e., is recognized as being prominent in his or her field, either by showing that the beneficiary has been nominated for or has received a significant national or international award or prize, such as an "Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award" (despite their inapplicability to the performing arts!), or with evidence that the beneficiary meets at least three of the following:

  1. Has performed/will perform services as a lead/starring participant in productions/events with distinguished reputations as shown by critical reviews, ads, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  2. National/international recognition for achievements through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals/magazines, etc.;
  3. Has performed in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;
  4. Has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
  5. Has achieved significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, recognized experts; or
  6. Has commanded or will command a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.

Again, USCIS permits "comparable evidence" to be submitted.

Our Attorneys have extensive experience with filing successful O-1 Petitions. For more information regarding O-1 visa or for specific case evaluation please contact our office.

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FAQ about O-1/O-2
How long can a person hold O-1 status?
Answer: The initial O-1 petition is generally granted for 3 years. Extensions may be obtained for additional period in one year increment. USCIS does not provide maximum period of stay on O-1, however, a long term O-1 holder may face difficulties eventually unless s/he pursues adjustment of status.
Is it true that O-1 visa requires employer sponsorship?
Answer: Yes, O-1 visa Petition must be filed by an employer.
Are the dependents of O-1 visa holders permitted to work?
Answer: No. The dependents of O-1 visa holder (O-3) are not allowed to work.
Can O-1 visa holder also study in U.S?
Answer: Yes, the O-1 Visa holder are permitted to undertake part time studying in U.S
Can O-1 Visa holder apply for adjustment of status (green card)?
Answer: Yes O-1 visa holder is permitted to file adjustment of status.
Does the O-1 visa holder need to go through the regular PERM process in order to initiate green card
Answer: No. O-1 visa holders fall in EB-1 category and are not required to go through the PERM process.