The O-1 visa is a type of temporary worker visa issued by the United States government. It is granted to foreign nationals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Extraordinary ability is defined as significant national or international acclaim, such as wining a Nobel Prize or an Oscar. 

The O-1 visa is actually divided into two different types: O-1A and O-1B.

  • O-1A is for people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
  • O-1B is for people with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.

Overall, an O-1 visa allows those with extraordinary ability to come to the United States to continue their work in their area of expertise. The initial term of an O-1 visa is three years and can be extended by a year. There are no limits on how many times an O-1 visa can be extended. 

How Do I Obtain an O-1 Visa?

A person cannot apply for an O-1 visa on his or her own behalf. Generally, a U.S. employer must apply for them.

The qualification requirements for an O-1 visa are similar to the requirements for permanent residence or aliens of extraordinary ability. This means that anyone qualified for an O-1 visa has a good chance of qualifying for permanent residence, if they so desire. 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for an O-1 Visa?

If you or a loved one needs help with a visa application, you should contact an attorney. An experienced immigration lawyer can tell you if you fulfill the requirements for an O-1 visa, help you fill out the necessary paperwork, and explain the process of obtaining an O-1 visa or any of the other visas that might be applicable to your situation.

A lawyer can also help you with obtaining an O-3 visa if you are entering the country on an O-1 visa and wish to bring along your spouse and dependent children.