O-1B Extraordinary Ability Visa in the Arts

The O-1B is available to persons with an extraordinary ability in the arts, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.  It allows such foreign nationals to visit the United States temporarily to work in their field of extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement.

O-1B Visa Requirements

Extraordinary Abilities in the Arts

 Individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Demonstrate extraordinary ability in the arts by
  • Sustained national or international acclaim and
  • must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability

Extraordinary Ability in the arts means distinctionDistinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.

Extraordinary Achievements in the Motion Picture or Television Industry

Individuals of extraordinary achievement in the Motion Picture or Television Industry must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Evidentiary Requirements

Evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).

Advisor Opinion

A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability is required for the successful filing of an O-1A petition.

Agents and Agents of Multiple Employers

A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

A petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for the other employers.

O-2 Petitions

An O-2 Alien petition may be filed in conjunction with the O-1B petition for an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to support the O-1B individual of extraordinary ability in the arts.

An O-2 Alien petition may also be filed in conjunction with the O-1B petition for an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to support the O-1B individual of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry.

The O-2 petition must establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 beneficiary and that the beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1.

In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the O-2 petition must establish that significant production has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.

An O-2 petition supporting an individual with extraordinary ability in the arts must include an Advisory Opinion Letter from the appropriate labor organization.

An O-2 petition supporting an individual with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry must include an Advisory Opinion Letter from the appropriate labor organization and Management Organization with expertise and in the skill area involved.

Period of Stay

An O nonimmigrant will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.  USCIS will determine time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity in increments of up to 1 year.

Extensions may be granted in increments of three years.  No maximum limit in O-visa status exists.

Family Members

Dependent Spouses and Children of O-visa nonimmigrants may qualify for O-3 visa status subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the principle.

O-3 visa holders are not work authorized, however they may engage in full time or part time studies.