An O visa is a classification of non-immigrant temporary worker visa granted by the United States to an alien "who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements," and to certain assistants and immediate family members of such aliens.
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are three types of O visas:
- O-1A - individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
- O-1B - individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
- O-2 - individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. "For an O-1A, the O-2's assistance must be an 'integral part' of the O-1A's activity. For an O-1B, the O-2's assistance must be 'essential' to the completion of the O-1B's production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1."
- O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.
An O-1 visa is initially granted for up to three years. Subsequently, it can be extended for one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted. The term "O-1" refers to 8 U.S.C. § 1101(O)(i) (also known as Section 101(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides for the admission of "aliens of extraordinary ability" in the stated fields. Spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa holders do not receive the status, but instead qualify for O-3 visas.
Unlike many other temporary employment visas, the applicant need not demonstrate proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which the applicant has no intention of abandoning.
The O-1 visa legislation was drafted in 1990 by former Connecticut congressman Bruce Morrison [Business Week June 8, 2009 p. 14].
Generally, to qualify for O-1 classification, aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing evidence of:
Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or at least three of the following forms of documentation:
- Documentation of the individual's receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
- Documentation of the individual's membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which 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 the individual, relating to the individual's 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 the individual's 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 the individual's original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
- Evidence of the individual's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
- Evidence that the individual has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
- Evidence that the individual has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
- "O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement". Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "Temporary Workers". Bureau of Consular Affairs. United States Department of State. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
- Non profit organisation for O1 visa applicants and holders OE2 Club.
- Current information for Artists from Abroad.