Applicants seeking an O-1 employment visa must be able to show that they have exceptional ability in one of the following fields – Science, Art, Education, Business, or Athletics. They can do this by documentation meeting at least 3 of the following 8 criteria:

  1. Awards: Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized awards in their field.
  2. Memberships: Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements.
  3. Published Articles Written by Others About Your Work: Published material in professional or major trade publications or other major media about their achievements.
  4. Peer Review Activities: Evidence of participation as a judge of the work of others.
  5. Original Contributions: Evidence original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance.
  6. Published Scholarly Articles: Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  7. Critical Capacity: Evidence of performing in a key role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation.
  8. Comparatively High Salary: Evidence of a high salary or other high compensation for services, in relation to others in your field. If the above criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, comparable evidence may be submitted to establish your O-1 visa eligibility.

An O-1 application must be sponsored by a U.S. employer or agent on behalf of the applicant.  An applicant cannot file the applicant's own O-1 application independently.  Once approved, O-1 status allows an applicant to work only for his/her sponsoring employer.

In the initial O-1 visa application, an employer can request that the applicant be granted work authorization for up to 3 yearsto complete a project, event or performance.

O-1 status may be extended an unlimited number of times, in one-year increments, as long as the employer can show that the applicant continues to perform activities related to a project, event or performance.

Individuals who accompany applicants to assist with a specific event or performance are eligible for O-2 visas.

The spouse and children (under age 21) of a successful O-1 applicant can obtain O-3 visas to accompany the O-1 visa holder to the U.S. but  O-3 status does not provide work authorization.

The government filing fees (including premium processing) and attorney fees for an O-1 visa application can be paid either by the applicant or the employer.  Unlike some other employment-based work visa categories (such as H-1B), the employer is not required by law to pay the filing fees and attorney fees for an O-1 visa application.

Contact Donald Gross Law for a free 30-minute consultation to start the application process for your O-1 employment visa.