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What is an O-1A?

The O-1A temporary work visas are for applicants that demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. This visa is usually for those that have had sustained national or international success and have risen to the top in their chosen field.

Obtaining an O-1 visa

A petitioning employer will file the I-129 form, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. The beneficiary must demonstrate the following to qualify for the O-1A visa:

  • Receipt of a major, internationally-recognized award (i.e., Nobel Prize); OR
  • Provide evidence demonstrate meeting at least 3 of the following 8 factors:
    • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
    • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought
    • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance is sought
    • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
    • Participation on a panel, or individually, as judged of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
    • Employment in critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

O-1A Term

The O-1A non-immigrant may be admitted for an initial period up to 3 years. Extension are granted in 1 year increments, unless there is a change of employer which would allow for a 3 year extension. Unlike H-1B which have a maximum limit of 6 years, beneficiaries in O status do not have a maximum status limit.

O-1 Dependents

The O-1A’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the O-3 non-immigrant classification. Family members in the O-3 non-immigrant classification may not engage in employment in the United States.