What Are O-1 Visas and How Do They Differ From Other Types of Visas?

An O-1 visa is considered to fall under the category of individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement. It is a nonimmigrant visa for an individual who exceeds high expectations and has exceptionally high knowledge in the following subjects: sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or the motion picture/television industry. This individual must have been acknowledged and recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. Typically, the O nonimmigrant classification includes:

  • O-1A: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures, or television industry);
  • O-1B: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry;
  • O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance and
  • O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

This information has been taken from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website and can be found there, with more information provided as noted above. 

What Are Some of the Key Legal Requirements for O-1 Visa Applicants?

There are many different requirements for getting an O-1 visa in Seattle’s tech sector. First, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievement and be able to prove this achievement in your designated field or motion picture industry, and you must be coming to the United States to work on this type of ability. If the tech is involved in the science field, then you must be among the highest and most educated individuals and have risen to the top of your field. To determine how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services determine that ranking and intellectual capability, you can view Chapter 4 C. O-1A Beneficiaries Eligibility in the USCIS Policy Manual

Besides having the general eligibility, a United States employer, agent, or foreign employer through United States agents will have to file on your behalf. They must also provide the appropriate evidence according to the instructions on the form and file it at least 45 days before their date of employment in the United States. The types of evidence that are to be included are written advisory opinions from peer groups claiming that you have extraordinary achievements. If this is not possible due to such groups being unavailable, then your employer can demonstrate and explain this in the form. In the application, there must be a written contract between the petitioner and beneficiary and an itinerary of what will happen in the United States during this time of employment. An agent can voice for you in the United States as you are here on employment, which must also be detailed in the application form. 

You may qualify for an O-1 visa in many other ways, depending on the proof provided. 

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Receiving internationally-recognized award (Nobel Peace Prize)
  • Proof of internationally or nationally recognized awards or prizes for excellence in your field
  • Membership in associations in your field with proof of members
  • Have published content in your field of work
  • Have participated on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field of specialization.
  • Have an original contribution of significance in your field (research)
  • Contain authorship of articles in the field as shown in major media or professional journals
  • Employment in professional establishments
  • High salary for the field

What Are The Benefits of Having an O-1 Visa in the United States?

Holding any type of visa already has its benefits in the United States. However, holding an O-1 visa will grant you different distinguished benefits here in this nation. Having an O-1 visa automatically does not have an annual quota. This means that the work can take longer than a year without having to return home or leave after a specific number of days or months. This gives you and your work environment more time to produce the most outstanding results possible in your field of achievement. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help you speed up this visa process and explain more of the benefits associated with having one.

We Want to Help You Reach Your Dreams Here at Stelmakh & Associates, LLC

We understand how confusing visa applications can be in the United States. Especially looking to get specific visas like the O-1 in tech fields in Seattle. You can feel safer here with our experienced immigration law firm. We have lawyers who are passionate advocates for your and your family’s safety and are determined to help you with your field of work. No one should have to struggle with visas on their own. Here at Stelmakh & Associates LLC, we have your best interest in mind when working with you to try to get the best possible visa for you in your situation. We understand that each situation is on a case-by-case basis. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help you move along with your status with the government visa process and help you understand the terminology that comes up during this lengthy process of acquiring a specific visa. To learn more about O-1 visa applications, legal requirements for specific types of visas, and organizing your files and documents to make this process faster, contact an experienced immigration lawyer at Stelmakh & Associates, LLC today by calling 206-605-0550.

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