If you hope to enter the United States for work-related purposes, you must first obtain a work visa. Work visas fall into one of two categories: permanent or temporary.
The vast majority of work visas are temporary. Temporary work visas allow citizens of foreign counties to enter the United States for employment that is not permanent or indefinite, or that lasts for a fixed period of time. There are 11 types of temporary work visas, each of which comes with its unique qualification criteria. One type of temporary work visa is the O visa.
What is an O visa?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an O-1 nonimmigrant visa is a type of visa that the USCIS sets aside for individuals who demonstrate extraordinary talent or abilities in the arts, sciences, business, education or athletics. It also sets aside O-1 visas for individuals who display extraordinary achievement in the television or film industry and who have received recognition on a national or international level for said achievements. There are four types of O visas, including the following:
- O-1A: This type of visa is for individuals who demonstrate remarkable talent in the area of business, education, science or sports.
- O-1B: An O-1B visa is for individuals who demonstrate extraordinary talent in the arts and, in particular, the television and motion picture industries.
- O-2: An O-2 visa is available to individuals who plan to accompany O-1 visa holders to a specific artistic event or performance.
- O-3: O-3 visas are available to the spouses and/or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
How do you qualify for an O visa?
The most basic requirement for an O visa is that you demonstrate an outstanding capability in one of the aforementioned areas. You must also plan to work in your area of extraordinary achievement while in the United States. To demonstrate “extraordinary ability,” you must either prove international or national acclaim and/or provide a record of your achievements.
The qualifications for the first three types of O visas vary. For instance, to obtain an O-1A visa, you must prove that you are of the small percentage of professionals who is at the top of your field. As an O-1B applicant, you must show that you have achieved prominence or substantial acclaim in your field of arts. O-2 visa applicants must demonstrate that their assistance is integral to the O-1 applicant’s success and that their skills are unique and not readily available in the U.S.
The U.S. has dozens of types of visas for which you can apply. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you identify the best visa for you and help you apply for the greatest chances of approval.