The O visa is a classification of a non-immigrant temporary worker visa, which is granted by the United States of America to an alien 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. Likewise, this visa is distributed to certain assistants and immediate family members of these aliens.
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, O visas consist of three parts:
- O-1A or O1A – those with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. Not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry.
- O-1B or O1B – those with extraordinary abilities in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
- O-2 or O2 – individuals who will accompany an O-1 or O1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. “For an O-1A or O1A, the O-2’s or O2’s assistance must be an integral part of the O-1A’s or O1A’s activity. For an O-1B or O1B, the O-2’s or O2, assistance must be ‘essential’ to the completion of the O-1B’s or O1B’s production. The O-2 worker or O2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 or O1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1 or O1.”
- O-3 or O3 – individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s or O1s and O-2s or O2s.
The O-1 visa or O1 visa is granted for up to three years. Moreover, it can be extended for one year at a time. There is also no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted.
The term “O-1” or “O1” refers to 8 U.S.C. § 1101(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This act provides admission of aliens of extraordinary ability in the stated fields. Likewise, spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa or O1 visa holders do not receive the status. However, they do qualify for O-3 visas or O3 visas.