What is O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa?
The O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa allows individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to come to the United States and work in their expertise.
The United States has many opportunities that attract people worldwide with the promise of success and prosperity. The O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa allows individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to come to the United States and work in their expertise.
The O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa is granted to individuals who have achieved national or international recognition for their extraordinary ability and have received extensive documentation to support their recognition.
The visa is typically granted for an initial period of up to three years and can be extended in one-year increments for as long as the foreign national maintains employment.
To be eligible for the O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:
How to Demonstrate Extraordinary Ability
You must have received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize to demonstrate extraordinary ability. Or you must meet at least three of the following:
- Extraordinary Ability: The applicant must possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.
- Recognition: The applicant must have received recognition for their extraordinary ability through sustained national or international acclaim.
- Job Offer: The applicant must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to work in their field of expertise.
Supporting Evidence to Show Extraordinary Ability
To support an O-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa application, the following documents must be submitted to document that you have at least 3 of the above criteria to qualify for O-1 in addition to your biographic documentary evidence:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the relevant field.
- Membership in professional associations in the relevant field that require exceptional accomplishments as determined by recognized national or international experts in the respective disciplines or fields.
- Publication of materials about you and your work in the relevant field in professional or major trade publications or major media, including the title, date, and author of such materials, as well as any required translations.
- Participation as a judge of others' work in the same or related field of specialization, either on a panel or individually.
- Original contributions of significant importance in science, scholarship, or business.
- Authorship of scholarly articles in the relevant field in professional journals or other major media.
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments with distinguished reputations.
- Evidence of high salary or anticipated high salary or other compensation for services, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable sources.
Spouses and Dependents
The O-3 visa category is designated for unmarried children under the age of 21 and the spouse of O-1A visa holders. As long as the O-1A visa holder maintains valid O-1 visa status in the United States, the O-3 visa holder can reside in the country.
While in the United States, O-3 visa holders can perform various tasks such as opening a bank account, obtaining a driver's license, and enrolling in either part-time or full-time studies. However, a significant limitation of the O-3 visa is that the visa holder is prohibited from working in the United States.
Going from O-1A to a Green Card
To convert from an O-1A visa to a Green Card, you need to change your visa status from a nonimmigrant to an immigrant visa category. Unlike the O-1A visa itself, an applicant with an approved O-1A is allowed to apply for a Green Card as a self-petitioner. In the alternative, an applicant can also be sponsored by their employer for the immigrant visa petition following a labor certification process.
The EB-1A Green Card allows for self-petitioning. You must file form I-140 with USCIS, stating why you are qualified and eligible for the EB-1A Green Card and providing the required documentary evidence. Once your I-140 is approved, your priority date becomes current, and you can file form I-485 to adjust your status from nonimmigrant (O-1) to immigrant (EB-1A).
If your employer is sponsoring your petition, they will need to obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor by filing a PERM. The employer can then file an application for an immigrant visa petition on your behalf under the EB-2 or EB-3 classifications.
If applying from overseas, you need to process your Green Card application at a US consular office abroad by filing form DS 260 and attending a Green Card interview at the US consulate or embassy in your country. Once your Form I-485 or DS 260 is approved, you will get your immigrant visa to enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
- Evidence of Extraordinary Ability: This includes documentation demonstrating the applicant’s extraordinary ability in their field of expertise, such as awards, publications, media coverage, and letters of recommendation.
- Evidence of Recognition: This includes documentation demonstrating the applicant’s national or international recognition for their extraordinary ability, such as membership in prestigious organizations or receipt of major prizes or awards.
- Job Offer: This includes documentation demonstrating the applicant has a job offer from a U.S. employer to work in their field of expertise.
- A “peer group” or “expert” Advisory Opinion. The regulations define a “peer group” as a “group or organization which is comprised of practitioners of the applicant’s occupation who are of similar standing with the applicant and which are governed by such practitioners.” A peer group should preferably be a labor or professional organization. The advisory opinion for O-1 extraordinary ability must describe your ability and achievements in the field of endeavor, the nature of the duties to be performed, and whether the position requires somebody of extraordinary ability.
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