O-1 Visa Program – for those of extraordinary ability
The O-1 Visa category applies to foreign nationals to permit temporary travel in the U.S. if the applicant possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
In addition to O-1 Visas available for those of extraordinary ability, O type visas may also be granted to support staff for any such applicant (O-2 status) as well as the spouse and/or children of such applicant ()-3 status).
In order to qualify, the applicant must be coming to the U.S. to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement.
O Visa Program Requirements:
As with other work related visas, an application under the O program should be sponsored by a U.S. employer. The employer needs to file a petition under Form I-129 that includes the following information (with respect to all fields other than the arts, motion pictures or television):
i) Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
ii) Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought where such membership is based on outstanding achievement, as judged by international experts in the field;
iii) Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the applicant and his work in the field for which classification is sought;
iv) Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
v) Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
vi) A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
vii) Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought;
viii) Employment history showing service in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
In the event that the criteria listed above do not meaningfully apply with respect to the applicant’s field of endeavor, an application may submit evidence that demonstrates a comparable level of extraordinary achievement.
O-1 EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY (ARTS, MOTION PICTURES AND TELEVISION)
The O-1 category also provides a basis for visas to be issued temporarily to applicants who have extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
Petition Document Requirements
A U.S. employer should file the I-129 petition with:
• Performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements;
• Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
• A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
• Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the applicant is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the applicant’s achievements;
• A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence.
If the above standards do not readily apply to the applicant’s particular situation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.
The O-2 visa category applies to applicants accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. This person would be acting as an essential and integral part of the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 artist or athlete because he or she performs support services which cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 applicant.
O-2 Petition Requirements
An O-2 petition must be filed by a U.S. employer in conjunction with the filing of the O-1 petition and must be filed with:
Spouses and minor children (dependents) of O-1’s are admitted under O-3 status with the same restrictions as the principal. No work is permitted in the U.S. under this visa classification.
If you entered the United States without visa and are working here without legal documentation, your employer may be able to help you. But it’s important to understand that just because your employer wants to help doesn’t mean you will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including your prior history (and your family’s prior history) in the United States. So it’s good that your employer wants to help but the first step is to call us for an interview so we can understand more about your situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, you need a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get you a work permit, but you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit you have to make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. Don’t believe any other lawyer or person who tells you it’s an easy thing to get a work permit. Call us for an interview and we can explain to you how the process and immigration laws in the United States really work.
As a result of the injunction issued by the District Court in Texas, applications for the expanded DACA program and DAPA are currently on hold. The Department of Homeland Security is not currently accepting requests for the expansion of DACA, as originally planned. Until further notice, it has suspended the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. This ruling only delays the start of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.
It’s important that you speak with a qualified attorney who can explain all the options and issues relating to your immigration status. Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant. The U.S. immigration laws and rules are very complicated and many people take advantage of undocumented immigrants, making promises and charging money without providing honest advice. Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer for legal advice about your case. If you encounter 'notarios' who offer legal advice without a license, report it.
You can begin preparing now! Even though DHS is not currently accepting applications under DAPA or the expanded DACA programs, individuals who are potentially eligible for Deferred Action status should begin preparing their applications now. It is very likely that the Texas decision will be overturned and there will probably be a rush of applicants when that happens. Individuals should be ready with their applications and start now by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to give themselves the best chance for success and to avoid potential problems.
If you are a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card, then yes, you can apply for a visa for your family members. But the process can take a long of time, depending on your own status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it might take 8 months to a year to process the application. The waiting time will be much longer if you’re a Green Card holder. Generally, the sooner you start the process the better, so contact one of our attorneys now to get started or browse our site to learn more about the different types of visas available for family members.
Whether you can travel abroad depends on your immigration status. If you have been granted DACA or if you have a Green Card in hand – you still must ask for advanced permission in order to leave the country. This is called advanced parole. Obtaining advance parole is relatively inexpensive. But it is not without risk, because there is really no way to guarantee that you will be able to return. Your return is ultimately within the discretion of the authorities at the point of your reentry to the U.S.
If one of your employees entered the United States without visa and is working here without legal documentation, you may be able to help this person obtain legal immigration status. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including a person’s prior history (and their family’s prior history) in the United States. It’s definitely helpful to their case if you, as their employer, are willing to help, but the first step is to have the employee call us for an interview so we can understand more about their situation.
A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, an employee needs a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get undocumented immigrants work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit a person must make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t let your employees get gulled into believing that it’s easy to get a work permit by some lawyer or hustler on the street corner. Call us for an interview and so we can explain to your employees how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.