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O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is intended for people with exceptional talent in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, as well as those who have a track record of extraordinary success in the film or television industries and have received national or international recognition for their accomplishments.

The O nonimmigrant classification are commonly referred to as:

O-1A: Persons with exceptional talent in the arts, business, education, or athletics (excluding the film, television, or motion picture industries);
O-1B: People with remarkable artistic talent or who have made extraordinary contributions to the film or television industries;
O-2: Participants in an event or performance who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete;
O-3: Those who are O-1 and O-2 visa holders' spouses or children.

Eligibility Requirements

General eligibility requirements for beneficiaries of petitions for O non immigrant classification include, but are not limited to:


O-1 Exceptional talent in the arts, sciences, business, or athletics (commonly referred to as O-1A)

The recipient demonstrates outstanding talent in the arts, sciences, business, or athletics, as evidenced by long-term recognition on a national or international scale; and

The beneficiary wishes to work in his or her field of remarkable skill in the United States.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability in the Arts, often known as O-1B (Arts),

The recipient's remarkable talent in the arts has been recognized on a national or international scale; and

The beneficiary wishes to work in his or her field of remarkable skill in the United States.

O-1B (MPTV): O-1 Extraordinary Achievement in the Motion Picture or Television Industry

The recipient has an established history of remarkable success in film or television productions; and

The beneficiary wishes to continue working in the field of remarkable achievement in the United States.

Standard for Classification
A beneficiary must have "sustained national or international recognition" in order to qualify as a person of "exceptional talent" in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (often known as O-1A), or in the arts (usually referred to as O-1B (Arts)).

A beneficiary must have a track record of outstanding achievement in order to be classified as an O-1B (MPTV) to work on film and television productions. In all situations, an O-1 beneficiary's accomplishments must have been acknowledged in the industry through thorough documentation .
 

The following are the regulations' definitions of "exceptional ability" as they relate to the O-1 classification:

  • A degree of knowledge suggesting that the person is one of the small fraction who have reached the pinnacle of their field of endeavor, whether it be in science, education, business, or athletics.

  • Distinction in the arts is defined as a high level of achievement in the arts, as demonstrated by a level of skill and recognition significantly above that which is typically encountered, to the point where a person is referred to as prominent if they are well-known, leading, or renowned in the arts.

  • "Extraordinary achievement" refers to a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry, as demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that which is typically encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field. This definition includes both performers and others .

Totality Determination

A person does not automatically qualify for the designation of a person of outstanding ability or remarkable achievement simply by providing the relevant documentation. Therefore, after the above-mentioned evidential requirements have been met, an officer moves on to assess the totality of the evidence in the record to ascertain whether it indicates that the:

  • O-1A beneficiaries are among the select few who have attained the pinnacle of their fields and have received widespread national or international recognition.

  • O-1B (Arts) Beneficiary has attained distinction in the realm of the arts and has received ongoing national or worldwide acclaim.

  • The O-1B (MPTV) beneficiary has a track record of extraordinary accomplishment in the motion picture and television industry, which is demonstrated by a level of skill and recognition significantly above that which is typically encountered, to the point where the individual is acknowledged as outstanding, notable, or leading in the field.

If the officer decides that the petitioner has fallen short of these requirements, the officer must explain why, in light of the pertinent statutory and regulatory language, the petitioner has not shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the beneficiary is a person of extraordinary ability or achievement.
 

Eligible Petitioners

An O-1 or O-2 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker may be submitted by a U.S. employer (Form I-129). When it comes to workers who are typically self-employed, workers who use agents to secure temporary employment on their behalf with numerous employers, and in situations where a foreign employer has given the agent permission to act on the employer's behalf, a U.S. agent may also submit such a petition. A U.S. agent could be:

  • The beneficiary's actual employment.

  • The representative of the recipient as well as the employer.

  • A person or organization that has been given permission by the employer to operate as the employer's agent or in its place. A beneficiary under O may not file a petition on their own behalf.
     

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