Find Legal Help Today from an Experienced O1 Visa Attorney in San Jose
Applying for a visa can be a complex and confusing process within immigration law, especially since there are so many types and categories available. If you possess extraordinary abilities in certain fields, you may be eligible for an O1 visa. The O1 visa is a temporary visa that allows certain individuals from other countries to live and work in the United States. Since this type of visa requires strong documentation of ability or achievement in a few key areas, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney before and during the application process. With the help of a knowledgeable O1 visa lawyer in San Jose, find out if you qualify and what steps you need to take in order to secure this type of visa.
What is an O1 Visa?
The O1 visa is a non-immigrant status category for aliens of extraordinary ability or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or individuals who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. This is an employment-related status; foreign nationals with this status may live and work in the United States. O1 petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent on behalf of the beneficiary or potential visa holder.
What are the Different Categories of O Visas?
Like most visas, the O visa comes in categories meant further to define the best candidate for the particular visa status. There are several categories of an O visa:
- O1 A: Individuals with extraordinary ability and national or international acclaim in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
- O1 B: Individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
- O2: Individuals who will accompany an O1 individual to assist in a specific event or performance. These are usually other professionals related to the job or project. While they may lack the extraordinary ability or achievements to gain their own O1 A or B visa, their association with an O1 visa holder has enough standing to permit them an O2 visa.
- O3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O1 and O2 visa holders. The children must be 21 years or younger, and the parent must claim them as dependent.
If you are unsure if you qualify for any of the O1 visa categories, the best bet is to speak with an O1 visa attorney. They will be able to assist you in determining eligibility for this type of visa or one that is better suited to you.
O1A Visa Criteria
Since the O1 A visa is an “extraordinary ability visa,” the person applying must be able to prove their ability in significant ways. If someone has received a major, internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, they meet the criteria of an O1A. For lesser recognitions, the petitioner employer must demonstrate that the applicant (beneficiary) meets at least three of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards
- Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought requires outstanding achievements
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers, or other major media
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
- Authorship of scholarly articles or critical reviews in professional journals or other major media
- A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
The O1 status is distinguished from other employment-related visas in that it applies to more types of work and skills than other visa categories, such as H or L. For example, the H1-B status is limited to professionals (with academic credentials, normally), and therefore, athletes or entertainers do not qualify for an H1-B but potentially may qualify for an O1 status. There is no annual quota for the O visa (e.g., unlike an H1-B for professionals, which is limited to 65,000 visas per fiscal year). There is no home-residency requirement, unlike the J1 exchange visitor program. If you have questions about your eligibility or applying for this type of status, speaking with an O1 visa lawyer will give you further information regarding the requirements and stipulations.
O1 B Visa Criteria
The O1 B visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or the motion picture or television profession. Again, much like the O1 A visa, the applicant must prove their extraordinary ability through significant recognition or achievements. While the more obvious examples include winning or being nominated for awards in the field, such as an Academy Award, Grammy, or Emmy, the applicant may also be able to prove their ability through other markers of extraordinary ability. The applicant must provide evidence of achievement using at least three of the following:
- A lead or critical role in multiple television or motion pictures productions or events with a notable reputation
- National or international recognition as demonstrated by major newspapers, magazines, or related trade journals
- A consistent record of significant commercial or critically acclaimed success
- A high salary in their field
Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs and the O1 Visa
This extraordinary ability visa has been the “go-to” visa for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. This visa category does not require a college education, something that many of the ever-younger entrepreneurs flocking to Silicon Valley lack. Furthermore, entrepreneurs see minimal options in other employment-based (immigrant or non-immigrant) visa categories, as they typically require an employer, which entrepreneurs lack because they work for themselves. If you are an entrepreneur, you may qualify for an O1 visa. Speaking to an experienced O1 visa lawyer will help you determine if this type of visa is right for you, as well as how to get started by providing the necessary documentation for an application.
How Long is the O1 Visa Valid?
O1 visas, whether A or B, is initially granted for up to three years or the amount of time specified to complete the job in the United States. If the time required for the job is shorter than three years, the visa will be granted for that amount of time. For example, if someone requesting an O1 B visa to complete a film will only need to be in the United States for three months of filming, the visa will likely be granted for three months and not three years.
The O1 visa may be renewed in one-year increments if the work is not completed within three years. The extension will only be granted for the same project or job the original O1 visa was granted for, and any new projects or jobs would require a new request for an O1 visa. If you have questions about an extension, O1 visa attorneys are able to answer your questions and instruct you on the next step in the process.
Let an Experienced O1 Visa Attorney Help You
If you are applying for an O1 visa, you are likely to have questions throughout the process. From determining your eligibility to preparing the application, there are a lot of details for this important matter, which is why legal counsel is always a good idea. Experienced O1 visa lawyers will be able to answer questions, make sure your application is strong, and tell you what to expect throughout the entire process. They can also help if your previous application was denied. Get started today by contacting an experienced O1 visa lawyer in San Jose online or by telephone at (408) 389-4764 to arrange for a case evaluation.