O1 visa - requirements and information on how to apply (2023)

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The US O1 visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa issued to foreign nationals who demonstrate exceptional skill or achievement in their field.

As it is intended for people in science, education or art, it is also known as a visa of extraordinary ability or an artist visa.

Who can apply for an O1 visa?

You can apply for an O1 visa if you are someone who is well versed in your field of work and has exceptional skills or accomplishments. There are two types of O1 visas, the O1A and the O1B, depending on your specialty:

  • You can apply for an O1A visaif you have exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics.
  • You can apply for an O1B visawhether you have exceptional ability in the arts or outstanding accomplishments in the film or television industry.

O1 Visa Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an O1 visa, you must meet the following criteria, depending on your specialty:

(Video) O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

  • For science, education, business or sport:You must have an experience that sets you apart from others in the field. In other words, it must be one of the "top" percentages.
  • For personalities in the field of art:You must excel in the arts and achieve higher levels of achievement than most. For example, it should be a recognized figure, leader or well-known person in the field, someone who has done this.
  • For film or television industry personalities:For example, you need to be recognized as having a higher skill level than others and that you are a leader and figurehead in your field.

In addition, you will need to travel to the United States to temporarily work in your specialty.

How to apply for O1 visa?

The steps you and your employer need to follow when applying for an O1 visa are:

  1. Your employer files a petition with the USCIS on your behalf.
  2. You submit Form DS-160.This is the electronic application form that anyone applying for a US visa must submit.
  3. You pay the O1 visa fees.
  4. You make an appointment for a visa with the nearest US mission.
  5. Gather the necessary documents.
  6. Attend the interview at the US Embassy or Consulate and present the documents.

Below you will find the application steps.

1. Petition to the USCIS

Your US employer or agent must complete and submit the form.Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Workerno USCIS,pay the application fee and submit the necessary documents. The application fee is $460.

You may submit the application to any of the USCIS Service Centers in California, Nebraska, Vermont or Texas at least 45 days prior to the commencement of your employment, but no earlier than 1 year.

After USCIS reviews the petition, they will "notify" your employer/representative of their decision. If the decision is positive, you can start the application process.

2. Submit Form DS-160

DS-160 formulaIt is an online application form. You can find it on the Consular Electronic Application Center website.

After completing the form, you must print the confirmation page and attach it to your document file.


3. Pay the O1 visa fee

Anyone applying for a US visa must also pay a feethe visa fee. As the O1 visa is based on a petition, the application fee is $190. You can pay the fee online or through a bank, but be sure to keep your receipt as you will need it on the day of your appointment. visa.

4. Schedule an interview

After completing Form DS-160, you will need to make an appointment at the US Embassy. You can do this online throughustraveldocs.comif you order from asia thatais.usvisa-info.comif you apply from elsewhere.

5. Gather the necessary documents

You must gather the necessary documentation for your O1 visa application in the time between the appointment appointment and the actual appointment date. You will need to present your passport, visa fee receipt, employment contract, USCIS decision notification, evidence of exceptional ability in your field, etc.

When applying for an O1 visa, you need to collect the following documents:

  • A written request from someone with experience in your field. Depending on the area of ​​expertise, this could be a peer group or a work/management organization.
  • A copy of the written employment contract. The contract must contain a summary of the agreement under which you will be employed.
  • A document explaining the activities and events you will participate in. It should include the type, start and end dates and an itinerary of these activities/events.
  • Evidence of your exceptional ability or achievement. For example, evidence that you have received an award, published articles relevant to your field, contributed original research to your field, are a member of a highly respected association or organization, or have received a high salary for your skills and contributions, etc.

When you show up for your appointment and interview at the US Embassy, ​​you will also need to have the following documents with you:

  • Her passport. It must be valid at the time of application and six months after intended departure from the United States.
  • The form DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Cover letter for the job interview
  • A photo of you thatmeets US Department of State requirements..
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services Permit Notice I-797.
  • Proof that you have paid the MRC (Machine Readable Visa) fee.

6. Attend the interview

On the day of your appointment, you will need to submit your paperwork and attend an interview with the visa officer. They will ask you questions about your qualifications, how long you have been working in your field, why you need to come to the US to advance your career, and similar questions. The interview is one of the most important aspects of your visa application.

Once this is done, you will have to wait for the visa to be processed and you will soon hear of a decision.

Can I get a green card with an O1 visa?

As the O1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, it does not directly result in a green card. However, what you can do is switch to aShow EB-1, which is a green card for people with exceptional ability in their field.

(Video) Why O1 Visa is Better Than H1B Visa? Full Process Explained! Yudi J

How to switch from an O1 visa to a green card.

How long does it take to process the O1 visa?

The USCIS takes two to three months to process your O1 visa application. There is also the premium processing option, which provides a response within 15 days, but costs $1,500 (price increased from $1,440 in October 2020). In contrast, regular processing costs $460.

Can I bring my relatives?

Yes, you can bring your dependents to the US if you have an O1 orvisor o2.Your family members must applyVer O3. Family members who can apply for a visa to accompany you as family members to the United States are:

  • your spouse
  • Your child under 21

You can apply at the same time as you or after you have already settled in the United States. The application process is similar to your own visa, but you don't need to apply to the USCIS.

Your family members cannot work in the United States on an O3 visa, but they can study.

How long is the O1 visa valid for?

The O1 visa is initially valid for a maximum of three years. If you need to stay longer in the United States, your employer or agent must submit a new application, along with:

  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • A copy of your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
  • An explanation of why the extension is needed. In the declaration, your employer must explain what work you were originally granted the visa for and that the extension is necessary for you to continue working in the same job or mode.

If you want to continue working but with another employer, your new employer must also submit a new application.

What alternatives are there to the O1 visa?

If you do not qualify for the O1 visa, you may have the following alternatives:

(Video) How to apply for an O-1 Visa | O-1 to Green Card

  • H-1B Special Occupation Visa.This is one of the most popular US visas issued to non-US citizens working in skilled jobs such as engineering, healthcare or computers.
  • L-1 Corporate Director Visa.This is the type of visa you should apply for if you are transferring from a foreign company to a US-based company where you hold a managerial or managerial position or have specialized knowledge.
  • TN See.This visa is available to citizens of Mexico and Canada under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement who work in engineering, finance, law, or other professional fields.
  • One of the P visas.
    • P-1A​​Athletenvisum.You can apply for this visa if you are an individual athlete or part of a group or coach coming to the United States to temporarily participate in a sporting event.
    • P-1B entertainment visa.You can apply for this type of visa if you are an artist coming to the United States temporarily for a performance.


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What are the requirements for an O1 visa? ›

To qualify for an O-1 visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim, or a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry, and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

What documents do I need for O-1 visa interview? ›

O1 Visa Documentation and Other Interview Items

A valid passport that will not expire until 6 months after the period you intend to stay in the U.S. A photograph of yourself that accords with Department of State guidelines. I-797 Approval Notice from the USCIS. The receipt for the Machine Readable Visa (MRC) fee.

What are the chances of getting O-1 visa? ›

The approval rate for O-1 visas is quite high and generally between 80% and 95%, depending on the service center.

How hard is it to get an O1 visa? ›

The O-1 visa is one of the most difficult visas to obtain. In order to be considered eligible, you must fall into one of the following categories: O-1A: this category is for those that can provide evidence of extraordinary ability in the areas of science, business, education, or athletics.

Can O-1 be rejected? ›

If an O1 visa petition is denied, the petitioner may file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of the USCIS within 30 days after they are served the notice of denial. The beneficiary of the visa does not have the right to appeal.

How long does it take to get O-1 visa approved? ›

O-1 Visa Processing Time

Processing times for an O-1 visa can vary depending on the particular case and the USCIS processing center. Generally, it takes anywhere from 2 to 5 months for USCIS to review and decide whether or not to grant a renewal request.

How many publications are needed for O-1 visa? ›

There is no magic number as to how many papers or citations in total would be a considered an acceptable number for the O-1A or EB1A.

How many citations do you need for O-1 visa? ›

The acceptable sections are: Review articles written by others (make a special mention if it is solely on your work) Citation summary of published materials from Google Scholar/Scopus. List your top four citations by others in high impact journals.

What is Checklist for visa application? ›

Only the travel document will be returned.
  • Application. 1.1 A completed and signed Schengen visa application form. ...
  • Travel Documents. 2.1 A passport or other travel document. ...
  • Evidence of legal residence. ...
  • Photo. ...
  • Proof of travel. ...
  • Proof of financial means. ...
  • Proof of health insurance. ...
  • Visa.

Can you get a SSN with an O-1 visa? ›

O-1 Visa holders are eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) and need one in order to be employed. O-3 visa holders are not eligible for Social Security Numbers as they are not authorized to accept employment.

How much does it cost to sponsor an O-1 visa? ›

The standard processing fee of an O1 visa is $460. If you opt for premium processing, you will have to spend an additional $1,410 on top of the standard fee. The USCIS holds the right to either approve or deny your case. It can also ask for additional evidence (RFE).

Can I sponsor myself for O-1 visa? ›

If you are not employed or don't have a job offer, you may still apply for an O-1 visa. An applicant can form a company which can petition on his/her behalf by creating an Employee-Employer Relationship. USCIS does not allow self-petitions for O-1 applicants.

Can I apply for O-1 myself? ›

A: No. The regulations state that an O-1 visa applicant may not petition for himself or herself. The regulations require that an O-1 visa petition be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent.

What happens if your O-1 visa is denied? ›

The first motion that should be filed if your O-1 visa extension is denied is a motion to reopen. This is appropriate when new evidence has come to light that may change the outcome of your case. This motion is essentially a petition to reconsider the case when there is new evidence available.

Can you apply for O-1 visa without a lawyer? ›

You cannot file an O1 visa petition on your own behalf, it is not eligible for self-petition.

Can you go from O-1 to green card? ›

Unlike most temporary US work visas, the O-1 visa offers holders a path to a Green Card. You can do this by making an application to change your status from O-1 to permanent resident, provided you meet the Green Card eligibility requirements.

Can you change jobs on an O-1 visa? ›

Can I change employers on O-1 work visa? Yes, you may change employers on O-1 visa, however, a new petition must be filed by the new employer.

Can I apply for O-1 visa without employer? ›

Although the O-1 visa is contingent on you finding employment in the United States, your sponsor does not necessarily have to be your employer. Your sponsor can be your actual employer, an individual who represents you and your employer, professionally, or someone who acts on the behalf of you and your employer.

How many o1 visas are issued each year? ›

Number of visas issued by year
YearNumber of O-1 visas issuedTotal
15 more rows

Can I stay in US while O-1 is pending? ›

The O-1 worker must be physically present in the U.S. at the time a petition is filed. After filing, it is not advisable for O-1 employees to travel abroad while the petition is pending.

How long does O-1 processing take? ›

Typically, this takes 15 days. However, in some cases, the USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). This can delay processing, commensurate with the nature of the RFE.

How many bank statements do I need for a visa? ›

Although, it is required that visa applicants provide a current bank statement of at least 6 months. Even so, you should make sure that the account has a regular cash flow.

What is high salary for O-1 visa? ›

In this case we've selected California. Here you can see that to be in the top 90th percentile you would need to have a remuneration package that exceeds $187,200. Many employees at this level get paid a base salary plus an annual bonus depending on overall performance.

Do visa officers check all documents? ›

Financial documents – The officers specifically check for financial documents during the visa interview to ensure that you have the necessary funds to pay for tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, etc., in a foreign land.

How can I pass my visa interview? ›

The 9 most important visa interview tips are:
  1. Create a good impression. ...
  2. Be well prepared. ...
  3. Be calm and confident. ...
  4. Keep your answers short and to the point. ...
  5. Keep required documentation at hand. ...
  6. Provide necessary financial documents. ...
  7. Explain how your program matches for your career plans. ...
  8. Never sound like a potential immigrant.
Jun 7, 2022

What are the 4 main steps to getting a visa? ›

The U.S. Department of State issues visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Four Steps to Help You Apply for a Visa
  1. Pay your visa fee,
  2. Obtain acceptable photographs,
  3. Complete your online DS-160 visa application,
  4. Get a list of all required documents you must bring, and.
  5. Schedule your visa interview appointment.
Aug 20, 2014

Do you need a sponsor for O-1 visa? ›

To demonstrate that you have extraordinary ability, you must provide proof that you have sustained national or international acclaim or a record of extraordinary achievement. Because the O-1 visa is a temporary work visa, it requires the applicant to have a sponsor for the petition.

Does O-1 visa require a job offer? ›

A: O-1 visa is an non-immigrant visa for outstanding aliens with extraordinary ability to do specialized work in the United States, in the fields of sciences, arts, athletics, education, and business. As a a basic requirement, a job offer from a U.S. employer is needed to apply for an O-1 visa.

Do you need a degree for O-1 visa? ›

Normally, people may expect aliens with extraordinary ability to have Ph. D. degrees or Mater Degree, but the USCIS regulations do not require a Doctorate Degree or Master Degree for the O-1 visa application. You cannot apply for the O1 visa as an individual.


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2. How to WIN an Extraordinary Ability Petition | Understanding EB-1 Regulations *SECRETS REVEALED*
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3. How to get an O1 (Extraordinary Ability) VISA and move to America | Tips and Hacks
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4. O1 Visa Requirements: Organization Criteria
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5. O1 Visa - How to Apply and Who is eligible? - Full Guide
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6. O-1 Visa for Startup Founders: How to Qualify?
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