The O-1 Visa for Extraordinary Achievement or Abilities is a program that allows employers to retain or attract world-class talent to their US offices. Typically, these visas are reserved for those who have had notable success in the arts or sciences.
Factors for O-1A Eligibility
According to the United States Custom and Immigration Service (USCIS), an O-1A Visa is for those who possess “extraordinary ability” in art, science, education, athletics or business. USCIS will look for such evidence as:
- Awards and prizes
- Membership in an exclusive association
- High current salary
- Respected reputation in their field
However, if the recipient is in the motion picture or television industry, they must apply for an O-1B Visa. In either variety of an O-1 Visa, USCIS recognizes that a person with extraordinary ability has extraordinary support. Those who the O-1 recipient would rely on professionally may receive an O-2 Visa. Family members of either an O-1 or O-2 Visa holder can apply for an O-3 Visa.
In either case of an O-1 or O-2 Visa, it is the employer who must file the necessary documents. It is also incumbent on the employer to describe how their employee meets the requirements.
Denial of an O-1 Visa
Applications for visas based on extraordinary talent can come with some risk. If the USCIS disagrees with the applicant’s conclusion, they will deny it. However, if your business needs an employee’s visa to move forward, it is possible to appeal the decision.