O-1 Visa

This a visa category designed to admit to the United States physicians, scientists, engineers, and persons in any occupation who have risen to the top of their field.


Do I qualify?

In order to qualify for O-visa Such you must provide evidence of sustained recognition and satisfaction of at least three (3) of the following eight criteria:
1. Original contributions of major significance
2. Material published about the alien
3. Nationally recognized prizes, awards, distinctions
4. Evidence of service in a leading or critical role for distinguished organizations
5. Evidence of having served as a judge of the work of others
6. High salary in comparison to others
7. Authored scholarly articles, abstracts of presentations
8. Membership in societies that demand outstanding achievement.

The O-Visa is available to H-1B visa holders who may be approaching their H-1B limit. The O-1 visa is especially valuable to current or former J-1 visa holders who are blocked from H-1B or permanent visas by the foreign residency requirement.

Although the O-1 visa is not itself a waiver, it is compatible with a waiver which, in some instances, may be obtained for the same job or a different job while the candidate is in O-1 status.
The O-1 can also be used as a vehicle to work within the U.S. while the two-year home requirement is satisfied incrementally over a number of years. The O-1 can be obtained initially for up to three years and can be indefinitely extended in either one or three year increments.

The O-1 requires a job offer and an employer. The employer can be a hospital, a research institution, or a private practitioner and need not be located in a designated medically underserved area. It is not necessary for employers to recruit U.S. candidates or advertise for the O-1.


What are the key documents required?

The standards are high for the O-1, which requires detailed preparation of documents. Evidences include:
· Multiple detailed peer support letters that properly describe requirements that satisfies O-1 standards
· Substantial supporting documents such as degrees, diplomas, and research papers.

A U.S. employer should file the petition with the following documents:
  • A written statement from the employer or a person designated, with expertise in the foreign employee’s area of specialization;
  • A copy of the employment contract between the employer and the foreign employee with the terms and conditions of the employment;
  • Award for exceptional contribution to enrichment of human life or evidence of at least three of the following:
  • Award of national or international recognition in the field of specialization;
  • Membership in professional bodies of international recognition;
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media in the field of specialization;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field;
  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field;
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

If the above standards do not readily apply to the foreign employee’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the alien’s eligibility.

The O1 category also applies to foreign employees with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industry.

O3 VISA / Family Members

Spouses and dependent minor children of employee with O1 status are admitted under O3 status with the same restrictions as the principal. They may not work in the U.S. under this classification.