Applying for an O Visa

By Cecelia Thomas and Kisshia Simmons, Esq.

What is an O visa?

When considering temporary work visas, an O visa can be a viable option, especially when other visas are not possible.  The O visa is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics. O visa petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent.  O visas are granted for the length of time necessary for a particular job or event, up to a maximum of three years, with unlimited extensions in one-year increments.

Do I Qualify For an O visa?

In order to demonstrate extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics, the O visa beneficiary must be able to show extraordinary ability and receipt of sustained national or international acclaim for that ability.  In order to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the arts, the beneficiary must be recognized as prominent in the field of endeavor.  To demonstrate such recognition, the applicant will need to supply documents showing that he or she has received significant national acclaim in a particular field. Supplying documents will mean providing letters and other documentary proof that you have prominence or significant recognition.

What Are My Next Steps?

You are an employee working for a company in the United States, but your current visa is set to expire soon.  Both you and your employer want you to continue working for the company. What are your next steps?

The O visa is probably the most viable and expedient solution, since there is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive O visas, unlike other work related visas.  Unfortunately, the O visa process can be very complicated.  The visa is granted to individuals, who are not Pulitzer Prize or Oscar winners.  Therefore, do not assume you are not eligible, because you have not won a major prize or award.  Our firm has worked on difficult O visa cases, such as cases with recent graduates.  We are available to answer any questions as you journey through the process.  Feel free to call our office with your O visa questions today.

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