The visa O for people with skills outside the normal

The visa O for people with skills outside the normal


Anyone with extraordinary talent in their field can travel to the US and work legally in their field.

The non-immigrant visa category pertaining to talented individuals who come to work temporarily in the US is the O-1 visa, reserved for individuals of "extraordinary ability" or "extraordinary achievement", ie to those individuals with abilities outside the ordinary or who have achieved goals of excellence.

The O-1 visa is subject to various standards of approval depending on the sector pertaining to the individual: cinema / television, art, economy, sports, science and teaching.

Let's look specifically at the various classifications of the O visa:

  • O-1A: people with extraordinary scientific, teaching, economic or sports skills (excluding the fields of art, cinema or television)
  • O-1B: people with extraordinary talent in the artistic field of prominent success in cinema or television
  • O-2: persons accompanying an O-1, artist or sportsman, to assist him in specific performances or events. In the case of an O-1A, O-2 assistance must be an "integral part" of O-1A activity. For an O-1B, O-2 assistance must be "essential" upon completion of O-1B production. The O-2 worker has crucial skills and experience with O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a US worker and that is essential for a successful O-1 achievement
  • O-3: married people or daughters of O-1 and O-2

What are the eligibility criteria instead?

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary abilities supported by national or international awards and must travel temporarily to the United States to continue his work in the field in which he distinguishes himself.

Extraordinary gifts in the fields of science, teaching, economics or sport means a level of competence that indicates that that person is part of that small percentage of individuals who have risen to the highest levels in their sector.

Extraordinary gifts in the field of the arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the artistic sphere, evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially higher than those normally found to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leader or well known in the arts.

So, the artist of our example, what documents will he have to produce to access the state of O-1?

The Immigration has compiled a list of documents that the interested party must present to support his case:

  1. Proof of one international recognition received in your field;
  2. Show that the Artist has played and will perform services in a prominent or participant role in productions or events with a consolidated reputation as evidenced by reviews of critics, promotional campaigns, publishing contracts or endorsements; and / or
  3. Show that the Artist has received national or international recognition for highlighted reviews, reviews or other material published by or on the Artist on renowned magazines, commercial editions, magazines or other publications; and / or
  4. Proof that the artist has performed, or will perform, in a leading role, a protagonist or critic for organizations and institutions that have an established reputation, highlighted by articles in newspapers, specialized magazines, publications or testimonials; and / or  
  5. Proof that the artist has a history of important commercial successes or critically acclaimed as evidenced by indicators such as title, rating, position in the field, box office receipts, film or television ratings and other employment results reported in specialized magazines, major newspapers or other publications; and / or.
  6. Show that the Artist has received significant recognition for the results obtained by organizations, critics, government agencies or other experts recognized in the field.
  7. Proof that the artist has agreed a high fee or will receive high compensation or other substantial remuneration for the services, as demonstrated by contracts or other reliable evidence; and / or.
  8. If none of the above applies to the occupation of the Artist, (produce) comparable proof in order to establish the Artist's suitability.

By scrolling through the list above, the Artist will already have a general idea of ​​whether or not he can qualify for an O-1.

However, it is always good to take into consideration that, while the above list seems to be adapted to the frontline people in the performing arts, point 8 allows anyone to form or adjust documents for a particular profession. Furthermore, this category allows you to define the artist's field as narrowly as possible.

It will therefore be the task of the lawyer to define who should be compared to the artist, to instruct immigration on the standards for that particular field / subgroup, then to document the position of the artist with respect to the others using the list scrupulously possible.

In conclusion, even if the subject has doubts about being qualified for the O-1 status according to the aforementioned list, it is always good to consult an experienced immigration lawyer, to really understand what kind of documentation should be provided.

First rule for anyone with extraordinary ability: never underestimate yourself!