The O-Visa is a temporary work permit for foreign nationals with an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” and those who have shown national or international acclaim. There are two types of O Visas including the O-1 visa and O-2 visa. O-2 visas are for support personnel – those who accompany someone with an O-1 visa.
The O visa is most often utilized by those in the television or motion picture industries. Applicants must demonstrate their expertise and ability through one of many ways including:
- National or international awards or prizes
- Published materials about the visa applicant
- Authoring scholarly articles
- Evidence of a distinguished reputation
- Evidence of a high salary
- Participation as a judge of work in the same field
- Demonstration of an expert status
Those who are prominent in the arts are those that have achieved an above ordinary recognition or degree of skill. For example, a person may have received a Grammy, Emmy, or Academy Award. These types of awards show that the person has reached a high degree of distinction in their field. Those who work in the arts may use some of the following documentation:
- Evidence that the person has or will have a starring role (using reviews, publications, contracts, or endorsements)
- National recognition of achievements
- Evidence of major successes in their field
- Recognition from major organizations or agencies
- Show that the person has received a contract for a high salary
The O-2 Visa is a special type of visa designed for those who assist or support someone with an O-1 Visa. In order to obtain an O-2 Visa the person must meet three main requirements:
- Show that they are an integral part of the actual performance
- Possess important skills or experience that cannot be performed by others
- Show a long-standing relationship with the O-1 Visa applicant.
Persons who apply for either an O-1 or O-2 visa will be required to consult with a U.S. based organization that controls the main functions of the job they perform. For example, an actor would need to consult with an actor’s guild or agent. A report must be submitted from the organization detailing the reasons why the person should be given a visa.
Applicants for O Visas will need to submit an application using an I-129 form and O supplement. They must also submit the completed evaluation by the consultant, along with the details of the proposed employment. O Visas are granted for one-year increments and can be extended by filing an extension.