O. Visa #Extraordinary Ability, #in Sciences, # in Art, # in Education, # in Business, # Athletics.
Updated: Jul 5, 2018
There are two types of visas: immigrant and non-immigrant. Non-immigrant visas are obtained outside the United States, at a consulate or American embassy. Individuals with a current I-94 can change or extend their status in the United States.
People who are applying for an O visa have to have extraordinary ability or in the case of people in showbiz and their essential staff extraordinary achievements. The process to request a petition from USCIS and then a visa to an Embassy or Consulate is simple. Qualifying for an O, not so much.
The beauty of the O visa, in my opinion, is that, unlike the H1B, there are no numerical limitations. The Attorney General decides how long a person with O status can be in the United States (INA Section 214 (a)(2)(A)) but the average time period is three (3) years. My experience is filing for scientists. Much of the material used to prove an O visa can be recycled for permanent residence (EB-1).
Among the disadvantages of the O is that getting an O visa is not easy. Oftentimes, it is more practical to obtain an H1B. The difference between an H1B and an O can be clearly seen in the inches of paper mailed to USCIS. An O does not have dual intent. Unlike persons L-1 or H1B status, people in O status must have the intention to return to their country when their project ends.
Attorney Maria M. Cordon can help you determine if you are eligible, prove the facts and how the facts comply with the law to request O status.