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O-1 Visa Guide for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is for those with exceptional skill in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have an established record of great performance in the motion picture or television sector that has been recognized nationally or globally.

It is also known as an extraordinary ability visa or an artist’s visa since it’s for those who work in science, education, or the arts.

In this article, we will show you all you need to apply for an o-1 visa, from the eligibility requirements to how you can apply for an O-1 visa.

About O-1 Visa

An O-1 visa is a non-immigrant temporary worker visa issued by the United States to aliens with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements,” as well as their assistants and immediate family members.

For the first three years, an O-1 visa is given. It can then be renewed for another year at a time. The number of extensions that can be granted is unlimited. The name “O-1” refers to 8 U.S.C. 1101(O)(i), which was added by section 207(a) of the Immigration Act of 1990, which allows “aliens of remarkable ability” in the specified disciplines to be admitted. Spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa holders are eligible for O-3 visas rather than O-1 visas.

Eligibility Criteria for an 0-1 Visa

Depending on your field of competence, you must fulfill the following criteria to qualify for an O-1 visa:

  • You must have expertise that sets you apart from others in your profession, whether it is science, education, business, or athletics. To put it another way, you must be in the “top” percentages.
  • For people in the arts: You must be well-known in the field and have more accomplishments than the majority. You should, for instance, be a well-known, prominent, or well-known figure in the sector.
  • For those in the film or television business, differentiation is required, such as being recognized as someone with a greater level of expertise than others and as a prominent, well-known person in the profession.
  • Additionally, you must be traveling to the United States for a limited time to work in your field of expertise.

Requirements for an 0-1 Visa

Aliens with great skill in the sciences, education, business, or athletics must, in general, establish sustained national or worldwide acclaim and recognition for achievements in their field of competence by demonstrating:

  • At least three of the following pieces of documentation: receipt of a significant, internationally known prize, such as the Nobel Prize; or receipt of at least one of the following forms of documentation:
  • Documentation confirming the individual’s receipt of nationally or globally recognized honors or accolades for outstanding achievement in their field of interest;
  • Documentation proving the individual’s participation in associations in the field for which categorization is sought, which requires its members to have achieved excellent achievements as determined by acknowledged national or worldwide experts in respective disciplines or fields;
  • Published material about the individual in professional or significant trade magazines or major media concerning the individual’s work in the field for which categorization is sought, including the title, date, and author of such published material, as well as any required translation;
  • Evidence of the individual’s participation on a panel or as an individual judge of the work of others in the same or a related field of specialty to the one for which categorization is sought;
  • Evidence of the individual’s significant original scientific, intellectual, or business contributions to the subject;
  • Authorship of scholarly publications in the area, professional journals, or other important media by the individual;
  • Evidence showing the individual has worked for a reputable institution or enterprise in a crucial or important role;
  • Documentation indicating the person has received or will receive a high wage or other payment for services, as indicated by contracts or other trustworthy evidence.

How to Apply For the 0-1 Visa

When applying for an O-1 visa, you and your employer must do the following steps:

  1. On your behalf, your employer submits a petition to the USCIS.
  2. You fill out the DS-160 form. This is the electronic application form that must be completed by anybody applying for a US visa.
  3. The O-1 visa fees are paid by you.
  4. You make an appointment with the nearest US mission for a visa interview.
  5. Gather the necessary paperwork.
  6. Attend the interview and submit the documentation at the US Embassy or Consulate.

The application process is outlined below:

Step 1: Submit a petition to the USCIS

Your employer or agent in the United States must complete and submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to the USCIS, together with the required documentation and the application fee. There is a $460 application fee.

They must submit the application to one of the USCIS Service Centers in California, Nebraska, Vermont, or Texas at least 45 days before the start date of their work, but no sooner than one year before the start date.

The USCIS will notify your employer/agent of their decision after reviewing the petition. If the decision is favorable, you can move forward with the application procedure.

Step 2: Complete and submit Form DS-160

The DS-160 is a web-based application form. It’s on the website of the Consular Electronic Application Center.

After you’ve finished filling out the form, print the Confirmation Page and attach it to the document file.

Step 3: Pay the Visa O-1 Fee

A visa fee is required for everyone who applies for a US visa. The application price for the O-1 visa is $190 because it is petition-based. You may pay the cost online or at a bank, but keep the receipt since you’ll need it on the day of your visa interview.

Step 5: Compile all Required Documents

Between booking the interview and the actual day of the meeting, you must acquire the relevant papers for your O-1 visa application. Your passport, visa fee receipt, job contract, USCIS notice of determination, proof of remarkable ability in your sector, and other documents will be required.

Step 6. Attend the interview

You must submit your paperwork and attend an interview with the visa officer on the day of your appointment. They will question you about your qualifications, how long you have worked in your industry, why you need to move to the United States to advance your career, and other similar issues. One of the most crucial components of your visa application is the interview.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How Long Does it Take to Process the O-1 Visa?

The USCIS will take two to three months to process your O-1 visa application. Premium Processing is also available, which will provide you with a response in only 15 days.

2. How much does the O-1 Visa cost?

It costs $1,500 (the price was increased in October 2020 from $1,440). on the other hand, the regular processing costs $460.

3. Can I Bring my Dependents With Me?

If you hold an O-1 visa, you can bring your dependents to the United States. Your relatives will need to apply for an O3 visa. Family members that can apply for a visa to accompany you to the United States as dependents include:

  • Your partner
  • Your minor(under-age) child (under 21 years old)

They can apply at the same time as you or after you’ve established in. The application process is comparable to that of your own visa, but no petition to the USCIS is necessary.

Your family members cannot work in the United States while on an O3 visa, but they can study. By the way, we have information about U.S Student Visa here.

4. How Long is the O-1 Visa Valid?

The O-1 visa is valid for a maximum of three years at first. If you need to stay in the United States longer, your employer or agent will need to file a new application with the following information:

  • Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129
  • a copy of your Arrival/Departure Form I-94 Record
  • An explanation for why the extension is necessary. Your company should explain in the statement the activity for which you originally acquired the visa and why the extension is required so you may continue to work in the same activity or way.

If you wish to keep working, but with a different company, you’ll need to file a fresh petition with them.


The O-1 Visa is simply a non-immigrant visa for immigrants with exceptional skills in the sciences, arts (including television and film), education, business, or athletics. This is a job-related visa that permits qualifying aliens to live and work in the US.

Only a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent on behalf of the beneficiary may file an O-1 petition. The O-1 visa is a dual-purpose visa, which means that while in the United States on O-1, the recipient can apply for permanent residency without worrying about predetermined intent difficulties.

We hope this O1 Visa Guide for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability helps you out with every detail you need for the 01 Visa application.

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