An O visa is a non-immigrant temporary worker visa given to an alien and their immediate family members and certain assistants by the US. Alien refers to a person “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, An O visa is a non-immigrant temporary worker visa given to an alien and their immediate family members and certain assistants. Alien refers to a person “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.” The O visa holder must have a US employer who will file a petition for the worker. It must be established by the employer that the worker does have an extraordinary ability and submit a written consultation. There are three types of the O visas, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services:

O-1A – individuals who are exceptionally good in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
O-1B – individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
O-2 – certain individuals assisting the O-1 visa holders.
O-3 – individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.

In the O-1A category, it must be shown that the worker has gained acclamation nationally or internationally. For O-1B visa holders, it must be proved by record of excellent achievement in motion picture or television productions. A written consultation is required for the worker to be employed. The consultation is a written advisory from a peer group that includes individuals of expertise in the respected field. For instance, for a tennis pro, written consultation may be provided by the US Professional Tennis Association or for a stand-up comedian, the advisory may be provided by the American Guild of Variety Arts. The O-1 visa legislation was drafted in 1990 by former Connecticut congressman Bruce Morrison. The O visa is granted for 3 years in the beginning and can get an extension of one year at a time but there is no limit to the number of extensions that the individual may be granted.

O visa is a good choice for athletes because unlike the holders of various other temporary employment visas, the holders of O visa do not need to give proof that they do not intend to abandon their residence outside of the US when their job here is done. They can travel to the US with their spouses, children and assistants and do not have to worry about the extension of the visa as it is granted for one year at each extension and there is no limit to the number of extensions an individual may request unlike most other work visas that have a definite extension limit. Availability of the O visa as compared to other work visas like H-1B is more practical as there is no quota on the number of visas that may be granted by the US each year so it is available throughout the year and through premium processing, it can be obtained in 15 calendar days hence one can get it quickly. It is considered to be a dual intent visa which essentially means that one may apply for their green card and get extensions on their O visa at the same time. EB-1 is the fastest way to get a green card in employment based immigration petitions.O-1 has similar criteria to EB-1A hence it is a path to get a green card. While an individual’s green card application may be under process and they’ve completed their 6 years limit for an H-1B visa or 5 years limit for L-1A visa, they can change their status to an O visa and get unlimited extensions, if they qualify for the O visa.

However, the limitation of the O visa is that the dependents of an individual go to the US with O-3 visa therefore they are not allowed to get authorization to work. If an O visa holder wants to change their job, they require a new visa. One may only take the job that the USCIS has granted approval for.