VISA CATEGORY O

o

Employment nonimmigrant visa for certain categories of individuals, which authorizes the visa beneficiary to work as specified in the visa application documents. Usually this visa is described as a visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements who are at the top of their professional field. Visa O requires an extensive package of documents and satisfaction of the high standards, but in comparison to P visas it does not have any limitations such group submissions and special programs to be a part of.

CATEGORIES

Subcategory О-1А

  • Athletes
  • Scientist, Researchers
  • Teachers
  • Businessmen, Entrepreneurs

Subcategory О-1B

  • Artists of any field (i.e., stylists, hairdressers, make-up artists, singers, composers, theatre professionals, etc.).
  • TV and Film Industry professionals (i.e, operator, script-writer, etc.)

VISA VALIDITY

  • O Visa is initially issued for up to 3 years.
  • Extension for unlimited number of times (each time for 1 year).

PROCESING TIME

  • 3-4 months – average regular processing time

or 

  • 15 days – expedite processing (upon additional fee).

PROCEDURE*

  • Form I-129 and supporting documents are filed on behalf of the employer / agent (petitioner) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
  • I-797 Notice of Action should arrive in the mail within a few weeks informing that the visa application has been received by USCIS.
  • Usually within 3-4 months USCIS provides a response. For expedite processing it is 15 days.
  • If approved and the employee (visa alien beneficiary) is outside of the U.S., an interview needs to be scheduled at the local U.S. consulate by submitting a visa application on Form DS-160.
  • If the employee is in the U.S., some additional steps need to be taken to ensure that the status is changed.
  • Upon approval at the interview in the Consulate the employee will receive O visa stamped in the passport.

*The procedure may change depending on individual circumstances.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

O-1A (ATHLETICS, SCIENCE, EDUCATION, BUSINESS) PETITIONS

Standard:

“Extraordinary ability in the field of science, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

Documents and Evidence:

  1. Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner and the alien beneficiary (employee) or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed. An agent can become a beneficiary.
  2. An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities; and
  3. A written advisory opinion(s) from the appropriate consulting entity or entities.
  4. Evidence of satisfaction of the required professional achievement:

Prize:

Evidence of receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence (Nobel prize, Olympic medal, etc.) If the visa beneficiary (employee) is in receipt of such prize, no need to go to the list (a-g) below.

Or

3 items from the list below:

  1. Evidence of employee’s membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
  2. Evidence of published material about the employee in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  3. Evidence that the employee has been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
  4. Evidence of the employee’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
  5. Evidence of the employee’s authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  6. Evidence of the employee’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
  7. Evidence that the employee commands a high salary or other compensation.

O-1B (ARTS) PETITIONS

Standard:

Sustained national or international acclaim. The standard is lower than in O-1A – artist need only to prove its prominence.

Documents and Evidence:

  1. Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner (employer / agent) and the alien beneficiary or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  2. An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities;
  3. A written advisory opinion(s) from the appropriate consulting entity or entities;
  4. Evidence of satisfaction of the required professional achievement:

Prize

Evidence of receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence (Grammy, Emmy, Director’s Guild Award). If the employee is in receipt of such prize, no need to present other evidence and go to the list (a-i) below.

Or

At least 3 items out of the list below:

  1. Evidence of the employee’s membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
  2. Evidence of published material about the employee in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  3. Evidence that the employee has been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
  4. Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
  5. Evidence of the employee’s authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  6. Evidence of the employee’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
  7. Evidence that the employee commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
  8. Evidence that the employee’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  9. Evidence of the employee’s commercial successes in the performing arts.

O-1B (MOTION/MOVIE/TV INDUSTRY) PETITIONS

Standard:

“Demonstrated record or extraordinary achievement”

Extraordinary achievement with respect to motion picture and television productions, as commonly defined in the industry, means a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field.

Documents and evidence:

  1. Copies of any written contracts between the petitioner (employer / agent) and the alien beneficiary or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  2. An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities;
  3. A written advisory opinion(s) from the appropriate consulting entity or entities;
  4. Evidence of satisfaction of the required professional achievement:

Prize:

Evidence of receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence (Grammy, Emmy, Director’s Guild Award). If the employee is in receipt of such prize, no need to present other evidence and go to the list (a-f) below.

Or

At least 3 items out of the list below:

  1. Evidence that the alien has 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”;
  2. Evidence that the beneficiary “has achieved national or international recognition” for his/her production work in the form of “critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications”;
  3. “Evidence that the alien has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation,” as documented “by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials”;
  4. Evidence that the beneficiary “has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes,” based on “such indicators as title, rating, 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”;
  5. Evidence of “significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field,” where the “testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien’s achievements,” similar to the recommendation statements or affidavits discussed below; or
  6. “Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in “the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.”

NOTES

  • Supporting personnel essential for O-1 visa applicant activities in the U.S. can obtain visa O-2. Family members – O-3 visa.
  • No annual quota for O visas.

ALTAVIAM LEGAL SERVICES

  • ALTAVIAM attorneys will review all documents and facts, and only then we can make an evaluation of your case. It is our ethical standard to ensure that each of our potential clients takes only educated decision about his/her case.
  • You can request a personal meeting with ALTAIAM attorney in Moscow, Los Angeles or New York or a Skype teleconference can be scheduled.
  • We will contact your employer and assist with drafting the required petitions and documents: I-129: Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker / I-539: Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status (if applicable).
  • We will advise on every step and every document that you are required to submit with your petition.
  • We will assist in submission of the visa application to your local U.S. Consulate if you are applying outside of the U.S., and prepare you for the interview. Please note that presence of third parties (even your attorney) is not authorized at the U.S. Embassy / Consulates in Russia.
  • We will work with you on all supporting evidence and documents.
  • We will contact the immigration authorities about your case.
  • We will be in receipt of all immigration mail correspondence in the U.S.

STATE* AND ATTORNEY FEES

  1. State Fee:
    1. Adjustment of Status:
      • USCIS Fee for I-129 Petition: $325
      • USCIS Fee for I-539 (Application to Extend / Change Non-Immigrant Status): $290
      • USCIS Fee for Expedite Processing (Optional): $1,225
    2. U.S. Consulate Processing:
      • USCIS Fee for I-160: Local Consulate Fee (usually around $160-200)
  2. Attorney Fee: we determine our fee only upon careful consideration of all individual facts and documents.

* The list of the state fees above is not limited until an evaluation of your case is completed. USCIS / U.S. Consulates may change their fees from time to time.




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