O-1 Visa Basics

The Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Employers and Employees with L-1 Visas.The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is designated for individuals possessing extraordinary talent or achievement in athletics, art, business, education, science or television and motion pictures. The O nonimmigrant classification includes categories for individuals who demonstrate these talents and achievements and those who accompany them to assist them in their skill or profession in some essential way. Children and spouses of these individuals are eligible for O-3 visas.

Criteria for Eligibility

Individuals who possess rare and unique talent in any of these areas and have experienced significant national or international recognition for their expertise may qualify for an O-1 visa. When referring to athletics, business, education, or science, the applicant, or “beneficiary” must be at the top of their field and one of few people in their field possessing their skills or expertise.

In the field of arts, the beneficiary must demonstrate “distinction” or a level of ability that makes them a leader in their field. These artists are often world-renowned. In the motion picture or television industry, the applicant must also be considered outstanding and notable in the industry.

The O-1 Visa Application Process

To initiate the O-1 application process, the petitioner submits Form I-129, a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency listed on the form. The form should be filed at least 45 days before the date of employment in the United States and can be submitted as long as up to one year prior.

In addition to Form I-129, the petitioner also submits documentation from industry experts confirming their ability or achievement. In many cases, a member of the appropriate union provides this verification. For workers in television and movies, a watermarked consultation is required. Providing copies instead or originals can delay the application process.

The petitioner provides a copy of the employment contract bringing the petitioner to the United States. A summary of the employment terms is acceptable for oral contracts. The petitioner must provide a detailed itinerary for their visit to the United States. Finally, the agent must complete the required paperwork to prove their eligibility to work on behalf of the beneficiary, the employer, or both.

Three pieces of evidence are required to establish the petitioners’ eligibility for the O-1A or O-1B visa. Examples of valid evidence include: the receipt of a prestigious award, authorship of academic articles in their field, or a high salary commensurate with outstanding experience.

Approval for O-1 / O-2 Visa

After the visa petition is approved, the beneficiary can apply for the visa at their United States embassy or consulate. The beneficiary can stay in the United States for up to three years initially and apply for an extension of stay in one-year increments at the discretion of the USCIS.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Clients Obtain Employment – Based Visas

Whether you are applying for an O-1 visa or some other type of employment-based visa, the smallest error can delay the process or result in a denial. Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. will assist you with every step on the application process to increase your chances of approval. To discuss your citizenship and immigration concerns with a compassionate, multilingual Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call 215-925-4435 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area.