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Home Articles Is the O Visa for Extra-Ordinary Ability for You?
Is the O Visa for Extra-Ordinary Ability for You? PDF Print E-mail
Are you one of the top people in your field or have you won a major international award or have you received national or international acclaim and recognition in your field of work? If so, you may qualify for an O visa.
O visas are issued to non-immigrants with extra-ordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
No Numerical Cap:
Although there is no numerical cap on the annual admissions of these non-immigrants, O visas require that its visa holders must intend to work in the area of extra-ordinary ability claimed.
No Limit on Duration of Stay:
Another advantage of the O visa is that there is no explicit statutory limitation on the period of stay for O visa holders.  An initial period of stay can be approved for 3 years and extensions of stay for an O-1 visa holder can be granted in increments of 1 year.
Pending GC application is OK:
An O visa holder can have a green card application pending while on an O-1 status and the O-1 beneficiary does not need to show that s/he is maintaining a residence abroad to which s/he intends to return.
Free-lancing is not allowed:
An O visa holder can only be admitted to perform services in “specific, identified events, performances, competitions, or engagements” and an O-visa holder cannot enter the United States to free lance
.Application process:
The procedure for an O visa is in three steps:
(1)    An O beneficiary cannot petition for himself and an employer, manager or agent is required to sign the application form and generally, a petition can be approved only after the employer, manager, or agent consults with a peer group, management organization, or labor organization, who attests that they have no objection to the applicant being granted an O visa.
(2)    An approval by the USCIS of an O petition supported by the above mentioned advisory opinion from an employer, manager, or agent.
(3)    Issuance by a U.S. Consulate of an O visa based on the approved petition.
If you are not sure whether you qualify for an O visa or if you need additional guidance, feel free to contact our office.
If you would like to like to see a particular topic/issue covered in future issues please send me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with “ISW e-Sandesh” as the subject.
Hanishi T. Ali is an immigration attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at www.mithraslaw.com.  Firm Blog at: http://immigrationinfo.wordpress.com/
Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/immigrationinfo
Are you one of the top people in your field or have you won a major international award or have you received national or international acclaim and recognition in your field of work? If so, you may qualify for an O visa. O visas are issued to non-immigrants with extra-ordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

No Numerical Cap:Although there is no numerical cap on the annual admissions of these non-immigrants, O visas require that its visa holders must intend to work in the area of extra-ordinary ability claimed.

No Limit on Duration of Stay:Another advantage of the O visa is that there is no explicit statutory limitation on the period of stay for O visa holders.  An initial period of stay can be approved for 3 years and extensions of stay for an O-1 visa holder can be granted in increments of 1 year.

Pending GC application is OK:An O visa holder can have a green card application pending while on an O-1 status and the O-1 beneficiary does not need to show that s/he is maintaining a residence abroad to which s/he intends to return.

Free-lancing is not allowed:An O visa holder can only be admitted to perform services in “specific, identified events, performances, competitions, or engagements” and an O-visa holder cannot enter the United States to free lance

.Application process:The procedure for an O visa is in three steps:
  1. An O beneficiary cannot petition for himself and an employer, manager or agent is required to sign the application form and generally, a petition can be approved only after the employer, manager, or agent consults with a peer group, management organization, or labor organization, who attests that they have no objection to the applicant being granted an O visa.
  2. An approval by the USCIS of an O petition supported by the above mentioned advisory opinion from an employer, manager, or agent.
  3. Issuance by a U.S. Consulate of an O visa based on the approved petition. If you are not sure whether you qualify for an O visa or if you need additional guidance, feel free to contact our office.

If you would like to like to see a particular topic/issue covered in future issues please send me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with “ISW e-Sandesh” as the subject.

Hanishi T. Ali is an immigration attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at www.mithraslaw.com.  Firm Blog at: http://immigrationinfo.wordpress.com/Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/immigrationinfo

Article was originally published on ISWOnline