What is an O-1 Visa?
The O-1 Visa is a non-immigrant employment-related work visa specifically designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in certain fields.
There are two main categories of O-1 Visa, namely:
- O-1A Visa – for individuals who excel or have extraordinary ability in science, art, athletics, education, or business.
- O-1B Visa – for those who have achieved extraordinary success in motion pictures or television.
A Sneak-peak of the successful O-1 Visa application
O-1 Visa application consists of 2 stages:
- The first step involves submitting the I-129 form along with supporting evidence that substantiates your accomplishments and includes relevant employment documents or agent sponsorship documents. Upon approval by USCIS, you can then proceed to the second stage of the process, which entails the visa interview, unless you applied for a change of status, then the visa interview can be postponed for your planned trip to the home country.
- The visa interview process begins with the submission of form DS-160, payment of the visa fee, and attending the visa interview at the U.S. embassy. In some cases, visa interviews may be waived, and individuals are simply instructed to submit their passport for visa stamping. The requirement for a visa interview depends on the policies of the specific U.S. embassy, and confirmation of whether an interview is necessary will be communicated after the submission of DS-160 and completion of the payment process.
The O-1 petition preparation typically spans a duration of 2-4 months, depending on the efficiency of the applicant, employer, and the speed at which the necessary evidence is gathered.
Requirements for the O-1A I-129
General requirements for the O-1A I-129 part are:
- Evidence confirming employment
- And at least 3 of the following criteria:
- Documentation of the beneficiary’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
- Documentation of the beneficiary’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
- Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the beneficiary, relating to the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which must include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
- Evidence of the beneficiary’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;
- Evidence of the beneficiary’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
- Evidence of the beneficiary’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
- Evidence that the beneficiary has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
- Evidence that the beneficiary has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
As mentioned above, once your case is approved by USCIS, we can move forward with the U.S. embassy interview.
5 Tips for a smooth O-1A Visa Interview Process
- Prepare all your necessary documentary evidence: make sure you have all the necessary documents like passport, DS 160 confirmation page, employment contracts with your employer, and other supporting documents (please review the email U.S. embassy sent you).
- Know your case: it is crucial that you read your I-129 and DS-160 form before the interview. Don’t be the expert who can’t defend their experience. You must be confident about defending your field of expertise, for example, if the interview officer at the embassy or consulate asks you to explain how and why you qualify, you should be confident and have a short explanation that covers your accomplishments.
- After you submit the DS-160 application, make sure to save a copy for yourself: review all the questions you answered while filling out the DS-160 application form because your examiner may want you to provide evidence that you truly filled out the form.
- Practice answering potential interview questions: practice the questions with your attorney. Below this article, there is an example of questions you can be asked.
- Dress well and be presentable: dress in a professional manner.
What are common questions asked during an O-1A Visa interview?
We have curated a list of possible questions you may be asked during your interview:
- What is the purpose of your visit to the United States?
- How did you become interested in your field of work?
- What is your educational background?
- What are your qualifications and achievements that make you eligible for the O-1A Visa?
- Can you provide examples of your extraordinary ability or achievement?
- What is the nature of the work you will be performing in the United States?
- How long do you intend to stay in the United States?
- What are your plans after your stay in the United States is over?
- Do you have any family members or dependents who will be traveling with you to the United States?
- Have you ever been denied a visa or entry to the United States before?
- Have you ever overstayed a visa in the United States or violated any immigration laws?
- Can you provide evidence of your ties to your home country?
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime or faced legal proceedings?
- Why are you extraordinary?
- Why are you required to be in the U.S. right now?
- Where will you work? What will be your position? What will be your job duties?
- Who will you report to? Will you have any supervisors?
- How much will you earn?
- Where is the company’s office located?
- Why does this company need you for this position?
- Does your company have any other employees?
- When do you plan to relocate? How long will you work for this company?
- Do you have any family in the US?
- What kind of services do you offer? What kind of services does the company offer?
- Who signed the petition?
* This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide direct legal advice.
Would you be interested in determining your eligibility for the O-1 category? Kindly complete this brief screening, and our team of attorneys will carefully review your accomplishments.
FAQs on O-1A Visa
What are the common reasons for O-1A Visa rejection?Your O-1A Visa application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information and necessary documentation required to determine if you have extraordinary ability. It can also be because the applicant does not have national or international recognition of expertise, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for an O-1A Visa.
What are the benefits of the O-1 non-immigrant visa?Upon approval of an O-1 Visa, the recipient is entitled to the following benefits: 1/ You can initially obtain a visa for up to 3 years. After that, you can renew it annually without any limitations as long as you remain employed. Alternatively, you can also choose to apply for a full 3-year renewal; 2/ You can obtain visas for dependents, including your spouse and children under 21. 3/ Additionally, this visa allows for dual intent, meaning you can also apply for permanent residency.