O-1 Visa- Persons of Extraordinary Ability in the Arts, Athletics, Business, Education or Sciences

Eligibility: The following individuals and entities will be eligible for an O-1 Visa.

  • Foreign nationals who produced original scientific or scholarly contributions in academic areas and have a job offer from a U.S. company.
  • Foreign nationals awarded major prizes, awards or some sort of other recognition for extraordinary achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics with a job offer from a U.S. company.
  • Art includes not just creators and performers but any other vital personnel such as directors, choreographers, orchestrates, coaches costume designers, animal trainers, stage technicians and set designers.
  • U.S companies who hire foreign nationals with outstanding ability in the areas of education, business, athletics, science or the arts.
  • Artists/entertainers of extraordinary ability involved in television or the motion picture industry.
  • The individual must enter the U.S. to continue the type of work done abroad.
  • Dual Intent: There is no foreign residence requirement but there must be only a temporary intent to remain in the U.S.


  • Motion picture and TV petitions: The O-1 must provide written advisory opinions from the necessary union and management group, detailing his accomplishments in the field.
  • All other O-1 petitions: A written advisory opinion from the appropriate union detailing the individual’s accomplishments in the field and the tasks that he/she will perform must be submitted. The petition may be accompanied by a nonunion opinion from an expert source.
  • Waiver of Consultation: The consultation requirement can be waived if it is shown that there is no appropriate union to provide the advisory opinion. Consultation will also be waived for O-1s of extraordinary ability in the arts who are re-entering the country to partake in activities similar to those previously performed within 2 years of their last consultation. No consultation is necessary when applying for an extension of stay.

Petition Process:

  • I-129 Application: An O-1 is not permitted to petition for himself/herself. If an individual is self-employed or the employer is a foreign employer, a U.S. agent must file the petition. A petition cannot be made more than 6 months before the individual begins work.
  • Work At Multiple Locations: An itinerary must be included and the I-129 must be filed at the VSC who may forward the petition to the CSC.
  • Work For Multiple Employers: If there are multiple employers, each employer needs to file the petition at the VSC. One employer or agent may make the petition for the entire itinerary.
  • Change of Employer: A new employer must file the petition with the VSC and request an E/S.
  • Amended Petition: It is only necessary to file an amended petition when the change is a material change. A promotion is typically not considered a material change.
  • Notice to USCIS: If there are modifications in the terms and conditions of one’s employment, which might affect his eligibility, the petitioner must inform the USCIS. If the petitioner no longer the employs the individual, then the petitioner must send a letter to the Director who had approved the initial petition explaining the change.
  • Multiple Beneficiaries: Multiple O-2s may be included on one petition as long as they are assisting the O-1 in the same function for the same length of time.
  • Extensions must be filed with the VSC on an I-129. They are granted for one-year periods. An extension of a petition does not require additional documentation. An extension of stay requires a statement, which details the reasoning for the extension.
  • Professional Athletes: If a professional athlete is traded from one team to another his EA (Employment Authorization) will remain intact with his new team for 30 days. During this 30-day period he must file an I-129. As long as I-129 is filed the EA will be extended as long as the petition is adjudicated.

Admission: The time of authorized stay for an O visa holder is specified by the AG but will not exceed 3 years. The visa holder may enter the U.S. ten days before this period commences and may stay for ten days after the validity period has ceased.

Return Transportation Costs: If the beneficiary is terminated then both the petitioner and the employer are held jointly and severally liable for the reasonable transportation costs of the beneficiary’s trip home.

Denial: If the denial is based on derogatory information, which the petitioner was unaware of, the petitioner will have 30 days to respond. If the petitioner does not respond or was aware of the derogatory information then the final order will stand and may be appealed to the AAU.

Revocation: The service center automatically revokes the petition if the petitioner or the agent for the employer goes out of business, notifies the USCIS that the beneficiary is not employed anymore, or files a written withdrawal.


O-2 Visa- Essential Support Personnel of O-1 Visa Holders


Eligibility: The following individuals or entities will be eligible for an O-2 Visa.

  • Personnel essential to the support of O-1 visa holders.
  • An individual accompanying the O-1 visa holder must be: essential to the performance; must have necessary skills and experience with the visa holder that cannot be performed by other persons; and must have a foreign residence which he or she plans to return.


  • Motion picture and TV petitions must include written advisory opinions from the union and a management group detailing his/her qualifications and experience with the O-1 and if a longstanding relationship exists or whether O-2’s ongoing participation is necessary because significant production will occur or has occurred in the U.S.
  • The remaining O-2 petitions must have a written advisory opinion from an appropriate union, detailing the individual’s necessity to and his relationship with the O-1.
  • All O-2 petitions must include consultations from the appropriate union.


Petition Process:

  • I-129 Application: An O-2 petition must be filed separately from the O-1 petition.
  • Change of Employer: An O-2 cannot change his/her employer unless the O-1 visa holder also changes his/her employer.
  • Multiple Beneficiaries: More than one O-2 can be included on the same petition as long as they are aiding the O-1 in the same function for the same period of time.