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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an O-1 Visa?

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.

What are the classification of O-1 Visa?

  1. O-1A: Persons with exceptional talent in the arts, business, education, or athletics (excluding the film, television, or motion picture industries)

  2. O-1B: People with remarkable artistic talent or who have made extraordinary contributions to the film or television industries

  3. O-2: Participants in an event or performance who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete

  4. O-3: Those who are O-1 and O-2 visa holders' spouses or children.

What are the general eligibility requirements for beneficiaries of petitions for O nonimmigrant classification?


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

What are the obligations of the petitioner?
The employer whose employment offer served as the basis for the beneficiary's nonimmigrant status and the petitioner (if different from the employer) are jointly and severally liable for the reasonable cost of the beneficiary's return transportation to his or her last place of residence prior to entry into the United States in the case of an O-1 or O-2 beneficiary whose employment terminates for reasons other than voluntary resignation.


How do you Determine the Eligibility for O-1 Classification?

The regulations describe the various types of evidence the petitioner must submit in support of a petition for each type of O-1 beneficiary. The officer must decide whether the beneficiary meets the relevant standard outlined in the statute and regulations for an O-1 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129). In general, at least three alternative kinds of evidence or proof of receipt of (or nomination for, in some categories, a qualifying prize) must be submitted with the petition. The petitioner's submission of the forms of proof listed in the regulations does not, however, entitle the officer to automatically grant the petition.

The evidentiary requirements are the means by which USCIS determines whether the standard is met, not the standard itself, as stated in the preamble to the final rule. As a result, just because the petitioner has submitted evidence meeting at least three of the evidentiary requirements does not automatically establish that the beneficiary is qualified for the O-1 classification.

How to establish Eligibility?
The petitioner must prove the following in support of an O-1A Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129):

possesses exceptional talent in the sciences, in academia, in business, or in athletics, as evidenced by long-term national or international renown;

Has accomplishments that have been widely documented and acknowledged in the field;

Is coming to continue working in a field that requires amazing talent (although it's not always the case that the specific tasks to be carried out call for someone with such extraordinary skill) .


What are the supporting documentation?
Evidence that the beneficiary has won a significant, internationally renowned award (like the Nobel Prize) or at least three of the following types of proof must be included in the supporting documents for an O-1A petition.

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has won honors or awards for excellence in their field of endeavor that are regionally or internationally renowned.

  • Proof that the beneficiary is a member of organizations in the subject for which categorization is desired, organizations that demand exceptional performance from their members as determined by reputable national or international authorities in their disciplines or fields.

  • Material that has been published about the beneficiary in a reputable publication, a large trade publication, or a major media outlet and relates to the beneficiary's work in the subject matter for which classification is requested; this material must include the title, date, author, and any necessary translations.

  • Proof that the recipient has judged other people's work in the same or a related field of specialization for which classification is desired, either as a member of a panel or alone;

  • Evidence of the recipient's significant original achievements in the fields of science, scholarship, or business.

  • Proof that the beneficiary is the author of scholarly works in the field that have been published in reputable journals or other important media.

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has worked for reputable organizations and facilities in a crucial or indispensable position.

  • Evidence from contracts or other trustworthy sources demonstrating that the beneficiary has or will command a high salary or other kind of payment for services.

Can a family member travel with an O-1 non immigrant?

If they are traveling with or joining an O-1 or O-2 nonimmigrant in the United States, their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for dependent O-3 nonimmigrant status. The O-1 or O-2 principal's O-3 spouse and unmarried children under age 21 are granted nonimmigrant status for the same duration and are subject to the same restrictions. An O-3 dependant is not permitted to accept employment in the US while they are in this status.


What are the required documentation and evidence?

1. Required Evidence
The following must be attached to the petition by the petitioner:

  • Evidence that is specific to the categorization being sought;

  • A statement of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary would be employed, or copies of any formal contracts between the petitioner and the beneficiary, if there are any;

  • A description of the events' or activities' nature, their start and end dates, and a copy of any schedule for the events' or activities'; and

  • A written advice opinion(s) provided by the suitable consulting entities.

2. Form of Evidence

The supporting documentation must meet the following requirements:

  • Documentation such as affidavits, contracts, awards, and the like must describe the beneficiary's accomplishment and be signed by an official or responsible employee of the institution, corporation, establishment, or organization where the job was done.

  • Affidavits from current or former employers, recognized experts, or individuals attesting to the beneficiary's extraordinary ability or achievement must state the beneficiary's recognition, ability, or achievement in factual terms, as well as the affiant's expertise and how the affiant obtained the information.

  • In place of the original, the petitioner may provide a legible photocopy of a supporting document. However, if USCIS requests it, the original paperwork must be provided.

3. Contracts
In cases where there is no written contract, the regulation permits the submission of a summary of the terms of an oral agreement. Examples of evidence for an oral agreement include, but are not limited to, emails between the parties to the agreement, a written summary of the agreement's terms, or any other evidence that shows that an oral agreement was made.

The oral agreement's summary must include:

  • The conditions stipulated by the petitioner (employer)

  • The conditions that the beneficiary agreed to (employee).

  • The oral agreement shall be established by the summary without the requirement that both parties sign it.

What should I do if I need to extend my stay?

Your employer or representative must submit the following paperwork to USCIS in order to get a visa extension if you need to stay longer in order to finish the same task or event.

  1. Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129;

  2. A duplicate of your Arrival/Departure Record Form I-94; and

  3. A justification for the extension, in writing.

The statement should outline the event or activity that served as the foundation for the first permission and affirm that the extension is required so you can carry out or finish the same event or activity as described in order for us to properly process your request.

The Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change, must be submitted by both your spouse and children. To extend their stay, they must apply for Nonimmigrant Status and provide any necessary documentation.


What should I do if I am changing an employer?
The new employer must submit Form I-129 to the USCIS office specified on the form instructions if you are an O-1 nonimmigrant in the country and wish to change employers. Your new employer must file an amended petition with proof that they are your new employer and a request for an extension of stay if an agent filed your first petition.


Who will shoulder my Return Transportation?
The reasonable cost of return transportation to your last place of employment shall be covered by your employer if your employment is terminated for any reason other than your voluntary of residence before entering the United States. If an agent filed the petition for the employer, the agent and the employer are equally responsible for paying these costs.

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