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New Jersey/New York Artist Visa Attorney

O Extraordinary Ability Visa

1. Q: What is O-1 visa?


A: O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics. This is an employment related visa that allows qualified aliens to live and work in the United States.


2. Q: What are the documents required with the O-1 petition?


A: Petitions for O-1 foreign nationals must be accompanied by:


• Evidence establishing O-1 foreign national’s extraordinary ability in the field of sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics
• Copies of any written contracts between the employer and yourself. If there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which you will be employed
• Explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities
• Written advisory opinion(s) from the appropriate consulting entity or entities


3. Q: What evidence must I provide as O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the field of science, education, business, or athletics?


A: You must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing evidence of either:
 - Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or


- At least three of the following:


• Documentation of receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor


• Documentation of membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought. The membership must require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields


• Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about your work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation


• Evidence of participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought


• Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field


• Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media


• Evidence that you have been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation


• Evidence that you have either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence


Note: If the above criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, the employer may submit comparable evidence in order to establish your eligibility.


4. Q: What evidence must I provide as O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the arts?


 

A: You must be recognized as being prominent in your field of endeavor by providing either:


- Evidence that you have been nominated for, or have been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director's Guild Award, or


- Evidence that you have:


• Performed, and will perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications contracts, or endorsements


• Achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications


• Performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials


• Records of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications


• Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which you are engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of your achievements


• Commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence


Note: If the above criteria do not readily apply to your occupation, the employer may submit comparable evidence in order to establish your eligibility.


5. Q: What evidence must I provide as O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the motion picture or television industry?


A: You must be recognized as being prominent in your field of endeavor by providing:


- Evidence that you have been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director's Guild Award or


- Evidence that you have:


• Performed, and will perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications contracts, or endorsements


• Achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications


• Performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials


• Records of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications


• Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien's achievements or


• Commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence


6. Q: Which documents are valid as supporting documents for O-1 petition?


A: The following types of documents can be submitted in support of an O petition. These are not exclusive and other forms of evidence may be used:


• Degree certificates and evaluation reports
• Publications, presentations, abstracts, invitations to conferences as well as citations of such publications
• Comments on your work by others in your field
• Requests for reprints of your publications
• Evidence of awards or honors received
• Evidence of membership in professional associations
• Documents substantiating participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the field
• Critical reviews, advertisements, press releases, publications contracts, or endorsements;
• Box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales
• Curriculum Vitae
• Recommendation letters from experts in your chosen field explaining your standing as an alien of extraordinary ability


7. Q: What is the advisory opinion required for O-1 petition?


A: Prior to filing the O-1 petition with the USCIS, you must obtain an advisory opinion from an appropriate consulting entity, such as a peer group, labor organization, or management organization. The advisory opinion is to state whether you qualify as an alien of extraordinary ability and whether such extraordinary abilities are required for the activities to be undertaken by you.


8. Q: Can I self petition O-1 visa/status?


A: No. Your prospective employer or agent must file O petition for you.

 
9. Q: Can I work for more than one employer on O-1 visa?


A: Yes, if you work for more than one employer at the same time. However, each employer must file a separate petition with the USCIS, or your agent must file an O-O-1 petition for the multiple employers with the USCIS.


10. Q: What is the difference between O-1 and EB-1(A)?


A: The requirements for O-1 Status are very similar to those for the EB-1(A) (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) employment based permanent residence category.  The O-1 category applies to foreign nationals seeking a nonimmigrant status, while the EB-1(A) category is for foreign nationals seeking permanent immigrant status. A person seeking O-1 status must have an employer in the U.S., while a person seeking permanent residence in the EB-1(A) category does not need a U.S. employer.


11. Q: As an employment related nonimmigrant status, what is difference between O-1 and other employment related nonimmigrant status, like H-1B?

 

A: O-1 Status is distinguished from other employment related statuses in that it applies to more types of work than other areas. For instance, H-1B status is limited to foreign professionals with at least a bachelor's degree for a specialty occupation, which cannot apply to alien athletes or entertainers without such educational background. However, such as athletes or entertainers can apply for O-1 status. Moreover, the requirements of O-1 are much higher than that of H-1B. Also, O-1 status could be obtained by those in H-1B status who have exhausted the full-authorized stay.

 
12. Q: How long can one maintain O-1 status?

 

A: There is no set maximum period for O-1 status. Theoretically, it can be indefinite. However, the length of the status is determined by the length of time needed for the alien to perform his duties or activities with the petitioner employer. Usually, an initial stay is limited to no more than three years, provided the petition can establish that the O-1 alien will need this much time for the proposed employment. This period may be extended at one-year increments thereafter, upon evidence showing that the alien's continued presence would be required.


13. Q: I am the spouse of an O-1 holder. What kind of visa I should apply for in order to accompany my spouse?

 

A: You may apply for an O-3 visa. As dependents of the principal O-1 holder, the spouse and unmarried children may hold O-3 status. This status allows the O-3 alien to reside in the United States, but not to work.


14. Q: What is O-2 work visa?


A: The O-2 work visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows essential support personnel of O-1 visa holders in the fields of athletics, entertainment, motion picture and television production to enter into the U.S. and engage in official activities. This status is not applicable to personnel in the sciences, business or education.


15. Q: Who is eligible for O-2 visa?


A: To be eligible for O-2 visa, you must prove that you:


• Are an integral part of the actual performance of the O-1 principal
• Have critical skills and experience that are not of a general nature and cannot be performed by other individuals


16. Q: How long can I stay in the U.S. on O-2 work visa?


A: You may stay in the U.S. on O-2 visa for the period of time determined to be necessary to assist the O-1 principal to accomplish the event or activity, not to exceed three years. You may be admitted to the U.S. for the O-2 visa validity period, plus a period of up to ten days before the validity period begins and ten days after the validity period ends.


17. Q: Can I extend my stay while on O-2 visa?


A: Yes, you may apply for extension of stay on O-2 visa. Extensions may be authorized in increments of up to one year to continue or complete the same event or activity for you were admitted into the U.S. plus an additional ten days to allow you to get your personal affairs in order.


18. Q: What are the consultation requirements for O-2 foreign national accompanying O-1 principal of extraordinary ability?


A: Consultation with a labor organization with expertise in the skill area involved is required.


19. Q: What are the consultation requirements for O-2 foreign national accompanying O-1 principal involved in motion picture or television production?


A: Consultation with a labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved is required.


20. Q: I am the spouse of an O-2 holder.  What kind of visa I should apply for in order to accompany my spouse?

 

A: You may apply for an O-3 visa. As dependents of the O-2 holder, the spouse and unmarried children may hold O-3 status. This status allows the O-3 alien to reside in the United States, but not to work.

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