O-1 Visa Extraordinary Ability

The Atlantic Writes About Extraordinary Ability: The O-1 Visa


The Atlantic has written a lengthy piece on the O-1 visa, which is reserved for individuals of extraordinary ability. With a maximum period of 3 years and indefinite renewals, it is a viable option for individuals who are at the top of their fields. The O-1 is used in the entertainment industry and in athletics. It is also used by scientists and artists.

The piece’s purpose is to show how this visa is used today. It points out that the number of applications and approvals of cases have increased recently. The number of O-1 approved cases has tripled in the past decade and 83,000 visas were approved in 2014. Whereas the H-1B visa is subject to a strict cap, the O-1 is without a cap. It does, however, carry a higher standard for approval. An applicant must meet three out of eight criteria (you can also win a Nobel Prize or Pulitzer Prize). There is still a consular process to undergo and there is a chance the consular officer can deny a visa. The other advantage of an O-1 visa is that support staff can be brought along through an O-2 visa and dependents can tag along with the O-3 visa.  A petitioner or agent is needed to sponsor the beneficiary.

Extraordinary ability is not just used in the non-immigrant context. For immigration petitions, an alien of extraordinary ability is a kind of self-petition that does not even require a sponsoring employer. Except for the upcoming visa bulletin, it is also in a visa category that is always current for a Green Card, meaning that a Green Card application can be filed concurrently with the application. There are three ways to file for an extraordinary ability petition: multinational executive or manager, outstanding professor or researcher, and alien of extraordinary ability. The multinational executive or manager classification requires a sponsoring employer.