Foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim may be eligible for the O-1 visa. Foreign nationals who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and/ or television productions may be eligible for a separate and distinct category of the O-1 visa. The standard for foreign nationals working in motion pictures or television, namely “extraordinary achievement”, is distinct from the “extraordinary ability” standard for foreigners who will be working in science, arts (other than motion pictures and television), education, business or athletics.
O-2 visas are available for foreign nationals who are coming to the USA solely to assist an artistic or athletic performance by an O-1 visa holder. Both O-1 and O-2 visa petitions can be approved for a period of time determined necessary by the CIS to accomplish the event or activity, but not to exceed 3 years. The documentation that must be submitted with a petition for an O visa person includes:
- Copies of the contract between the employer and the foreign national or if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the agreement;
- An explanation of the of the nature of the events or activities, including the beginning and ending dates for the events of activities as evidenced in the itinerary;
- Written opinion(s) from the appropriate consulting entity or entities and
- Affidavits, contracts, awards and similar documentation that reflect the extraordinary ability or extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement of the foreign national.
O-1 visas are reserved for individuals who have a very high standing in their respective fields. It must usually be demonstrated that both the foreign national and the production, event or activity in which they will be participating have a distinguished reputation. The standards of achievement basically require that the foreign national has either won a major international prize or provides appropriate documentary evidence from three of seven specified categories of evidence. Evidence of “peer consultations” from management groups, unions, or other appropriate groups relating to the field of discipline must also be submitted along with the O-1 petition. Such organizations include Actors Equity, American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Guild of Musical Artist, etc. Appropriately worded letters must be obtained from one or possibly two listed entities before filing the visa petition.
Evidence to be included in the petition should include:
- Evidence of awards won or nominations by the company in their field;
- Evidence of commercial success by the company;
- Complimentary critical reviews or articles about the company in newspapers, magazines or trade journals;
- Any other available evidence which would show that the company had a distinguished reputation in the field.
Please note that the above listed information is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice regarding an individual matter. We strongly encourage you to work closely with qualified legal counsel when pursuing any immigration benefits. If we can be of further assistance to you, please contact our office via phone at (408) 567-9445 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org