The O1 nonimmigrant visa is for people who have extraordinary abilities in some areas. These people must also have significant national and international achievements. Holders of this visa can not only bring their families to the United States but can also transfer their assistants to this country.

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US O-1 Visa

What is the US O1 visa?

The US O1 visa is defined for those who have extraordinary abilities in the following areas:

  • Science
  • Art
  • Education
  • Business
  •  Athletics

Those who have significant achievements in the field of the television industry or motion picture and have been recognized nationally and internationally can also apply for this visa. This visa is divided into two categories:

  • O-1A: Those who work in the fields of science, education, business, and sports can apply for this visa.
  • O-1B: Those working in the arts, motion picture, and television industry can apply for this visa.

Note: O1 visa holders might need assistance. Their assistants must apply for O2 visas.

Video description. 

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

DS-160 application form.

The list of U.S. Embassy or Consulate

US O-3 visa

What are the requirements of the US O1 visa?

1. Prove the extraordinary ability

Applicants for the US O1 visa must prove their extraordinary ability in their field of activity. So if you have won an award or been recognized by a reputable organization, you can use it to prove your ability. Just because you belong to a well-known organization is not enough to prove your eligibility. You cannot present organizational achievements as a reason. Those who are active in science, education, career, or sports should show their level of specialization. You can provide the following to prove your extraordinary ability:

  • If you have received well-known awards such as Pulitzer Prize or an Olympic medal
  • If you have a published article in your specific field
  • If you have participated in the original research conducted in the mentioned fields
  • If you have judged the contribution of others in your field
  • If you get a high salary because of your skill or contribution

Extraordinary ability in the art field means being distinctive. This means a high level of achievement is obtained through skill substantially above that ordinarily encountered. These people must be well-known, pioneering, and leading in their fields.

Some of the artistic areas where you can prove your extraordinary ability are:

  • Fine or visual arts
  • Performing arts
  •  Culinary arts

To qualify as an artist, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Have well-known awards such as a Grammy, Oscar, or Emmy
  • Be a pioneering person in your field
  • Have a high income compared to other people who work in your field
  • Have been featured in publications because of your great performances
  • Are part of deeply reviewed pieces of production with high ratings, box office receipts, and so on.

2. Return to the home country

They must also prove that they are temporarily coming to the United States to work in the area of extraordinary ability.

3. A job offer

Applicants for this visa must first find a job offer and an employer in the United States and then initiate the visa application process.

O1 visa permits you to immigrate and work in the US as a software engineer. 

How to apply for a US O1 visa?

Since this visa is a type of work visa, the application process is similar to other work visas. To get this work visa, you must first find an employer in the United States who wants to hire you. Then the visa application process begins.

Measures to be taken by the employer:

  1. The employer must first send Form I-129  (Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers) on behalf of you to the USCIS.
  2. Documents indicating your extraordinary ability in the above fields should be submitted (such as a certificate, clippings of your article published in a newspaper and descriptions of the acclaimed organization)
  3. The employer must pay $ 460.

USCIS reviews the petition; if your application is approved, they will issue Form I-797 (Notice of Action). You can then initiate the application process as an O1 visa applicant.

Measures to be taken by the employee:

1. Complete the online application form (DS-160): The online application form must be completed for all US nonimmigrant visas. Depending on the type of visa, there are different questions in this form. After completing the form, a number and confirmation page will be issued that you must save.

2. Pay the visa application fee: The application fee for this visa is $ 190, which must be paid by the applicant. Your request will not be processed without paying this fee. After payment, keep the receipt because you have to provide it in the next steps.

3. Schedule an interview appointment: All US visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must participate in the interview as part of the pre-visa process. Applicants must schedule an appointment with the embassy. After the appointment is set, an interview confirmation letter will be issued that you must bring with you on the day of the interview.

4. Submit the necessary documents: Applicants for the O1 visa must provide the following documents:

  • Applicant Photo
  • US O1 visa interview letter
  • Receipt of payments
  • Letter or contract set by the employer
  • Documents that prove your extraordinary ability (these documents must be the same as those provided by the employer)
  • If you plan to come to the United States with family members, you must provide proof of your relationship with them.

5. Attend an interview: You must be present at the interview on the specified date. You should be on time and honestly answer the questions asked by the consular officer. Keep in mind that the interview has a significant impact on the visa application process.

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What questions are usually asked in the interview?

To answer the US O1 visa interview questions well, it is better to prepare the answers to some of the questions that are often asked in these interviews. Remember to answer all questions honestly.

  • What is your name?
  • What organization or company do you work for?
  • Where will you live while you are in the United States?
  • Are you planning to return home?
  • How long have you been working in your field?
  • Why do you want to travel to the United States?
  • What is your current employment, and how much do you get paid?
  • Is this your first US work visa?
  • Who will come to America with you?
  • What will you do in the United States?
  • How long will you stay in the United States?

How long is the O1 visa valid? How can its validity be extended?

This visa is issued with a three-year validity. After this period, you may want to renew your visa. To do this, the employer must prove why you need to renew your visa. Form I-129 must be filed. Each extension is for one year only. The holders of the O1 visa can renew their visa as many times as they want.

You can change your employer. The new employer has to submit a new petition. You are also allowed to work with several employers at the same time. In this case, all employers must file a separate petition with USCIS.

Can the O1 visa holders apply for a Green Card?

Yes. As long as you can prove your extraordinary ability, you can apply for a Green Card. At this step, to prove your ability, you need to provide more evidence than before.

Can O1 visa holders bring their family members to the United States?

Yes. The O1 visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States under the O3 visa. The validity of the O3 visa is the same as the validity of your O1 visa. If you extend your O1 visa or get a Green Card, your dependents can also benefit. It should be noted that holders of O3 visas are not allowed to work.

Let’s sum up…

In this article, we have discussed many details about the O1 visa, including the requirements, how to apply, fees, interview questions, and visa extension. We also learned how and under what circumstances you can apply for a Green Card. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas like as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.

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  1. David-KH says:

    Is it necessary to attend an interview?

    • Support says:

      Hey there.
      Thanks for leaving a comment on our website. To apply for any type of visa, you are obligated to be present at an interview so that the officials can figure out if he is eligible or not.