Type O Visa

The Type O visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in arts, athletics, business, education or sciences. Other areas of ability that are considered under this type of visa are people who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the TV or motion picture industry and has been recognized for those achievements (nationally or internationally).
There are different types of O visa
O-1A: For those with extraordinary ability in athletics, business, education or sciences.
O-1V: Covering those who are under the arts, motion picture or television industry category.
O-2: Where an individual travels with an O-1 visa holder to support an event or performance. This person must be deemed to be an essential part of the team that enables O-1 holder to complete their performance/event. O-2 visa’s will only be granted where the role cannot be performed by a US worker.
O-3: Spouses and children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders are eligible for O-3 visas.
For people to be considered to have extraordinary ability they must have demonstrated ability that is in the very top percentile of people within their field. For an athlete, that might be that they have represented their country at their sport/event. For an artist it could be that they have won national or international awards to recognise their talent.

How to apply for a O-1 visa

The first step is for the petitioner to submit a Form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker at least 45 days prior to the date that the employment is due to commence.
As evidence that the person qualifies to have extraordinary ability in their field, they will be required to provide examples of how they have demonstrated their ability such as featuring in journals or mainstream media.
Due to the complex nature of evidencing extraordinary ability, each application will be reviewed individually by the USCIS to assess whether they fit the criteria and more documentation and evidence may be requested before approval. If the Form I-129 is approved then the employee will then be required to file the DS-160 form and complete an interview with the Embassy before they will be provides the O-1 visa.
Like many of the other types of visas, people are required to schedule an appointment at the US Embassy in their country to attend an interview where they will be asked for further information about their visit. Where spouse or children are also visiting the US, roof is required to show their relation to the O-1 visa applicant. Following the interview, it can take up to three months for the application to be processed, unless you pay a premium to get it fast-tracked.

O-1 period of validity

The O-1 visa is valid for up to three years. If there is a requirement to stay in the US for longer than that then a new Form I-129 must be submitted in order to request a 1-year extension. Unlike most other US visas, there is no limit in regards to the number of extensions you can apply for.

Other Visas

H-2A for seasonal agricultural workers

The H-2A visa is available specifically for foreign nationals to take on seasonal agricultural work. This type of visa is only applicable for temporary and seasonal work and not long-term work. Typically, it can be difficult for employers to fill their vacancies for this type of work, particularly given the short-term nature of it, so it is often in their interests to employ foreign nationals to perform the duties due to higher levels of availability.

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H-4 for dependents

Where a H visa has been granted, the spouse and children (aged under 21) of H visa holders qualify for a H-4 visa. So this includes any foreign nationals that have a H1-B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B or H-3 visa approved.

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J-1 Visa

Anyone visiting the US that is a foreign national must first obtain the relevant visa to allow them to enter the country. There is a wide range of different visa types that cover a variety of reasons for entering the US, including student visas F-1,M-1 and J-1.

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