Successfully Obtain Your O-1 Visa:
Experience and Responsiveness that Makes a Difference.
Our O-1 Visa Pledge:
- 100% commitment to processing your O-1 Visa quickly & successfully
- Strong O-1 Visa lawyer experience & knowledge
- Open communication & responsiveness is among our top priority
- Highest level of O-1 Visa Attorney service at an affordable FLAT rate
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to discuss your case with an O-1 Visa Lawyer.
How We Can Help...
Whether you are an artist, entertainer, athlete, educator, scientist, business person or any other person of "extraordinary ability" (**see definition in Q & A below), we understand how important an O-1 Visa is to you, your agent, your employer, your clients, and/or other relevant parties. A successful outcome will have a profound impact on not just your career but all individuals and entities with whom you work with and come in contact with. O-1 Visa applications, whether they are new O-1 visas or an O-1 transfer or O-1 extension, do require careful attention and strong communication -- but with both in place, the process is often more simple, and more stress free than many of our clients expect.
With our experience, the process is step-by-step. We listen. We address your concerns. We get to know your field. We help you gather the required information and documentation. And then we carefully prepare your application in order to successfully obtain your O-1 Visa. We'll communicate with you throughout the process, your agent and/or employer, and any other relevant parties, such as recommenders and/or other professionals and experts.
Our O-1 attorney experience benefits you in several key areas. We:
- Clarify options and potential scenarios surrounding your case
- Assist you in collecting the proper documentation
- Correctly classify the application and ensure requirements are met
- Prepare and submit all USCIS forms and documentation
- Communicate with all relevant parties and USCIS throughout the process
- Monitor the entire application process
At Lightman Law Firm, your success is our success. You'll know it from the first communication through the completion of your case.
Contact us to discuss your O-1 case.
Questions? Concerns? We can help. We'll explain the visa O-1 process and time frame, and outline items you'll need to prepare... and what you can expect.
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Common O-1 Visa Questions:
Who is this category set aside for and what is the general standard? The O-1 Visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, athletics, movies, or television. To meet the standards of this visa you must show that you have extraordinary ability (the definition depends on the sub-category you fall within) and that you have received sustained national or international acclaim.
How many O-1 visas are available every year and when can I submit an application? Unlike the H1B visa, there are no limits on the number of O-1 visas available every year and you may submit an application at anytime.
Is there a minimum prevailing wage or a specific start-date that I need to be aware of? No, unlike the H1B visa, there is no minimum prevailing wage or specific start date that you need to be aware of. However, you cannot submit an O-1 visa application more than six months in advance of your start-date.
What is the visa duration? The O-1 visa can be requested for up to a maximum of three years upon each filing. Unlike the H1B visa or L-1 Visa, there is technically no maximum period that an individual can be in O-1 status.
What are some common visa O-1 professions? Although not exclusive, the following are some examples of common professions that may be eligible to use the O-1: artists; entertainers; models; chefs; business professionals; doctors; scientists; actors/actresses; professors; directors; set designers; choreographers; orchestrates; coaches; jugglers; arrangers; costume designers; make-up artists; stage technicians; animal trainers; musicians; fine artists; visual arts; culinary arts; specialized mechanices; designers; and technical and creative personnel.
What does extraordinary ability mean for an artist? Extraordinary ability in the arts means "distinction". This requires the artist to establish that he/she is "prominent in his or her field".
How do you prove "distinction" in the arts (O-1B)? To prove distinction in the arts, a potential O-1 artist must provide evidence that they are recognized as being prominent in their field, either by showing that they have been nominated or have received a significant national or international award or prize, OR with evidence that they meet at least 3 of the following:
- Has performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in a production or event that has a distinguished reputation as shown by critical reviews, ads, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
- Has received national or international recognition for achievements through critical reviews via published materials by or about the foriegn national in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, websites, etc.;
- Has performed in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by media articles, testimonials, letters of recommendation, website reviews, and other similar items;
- Has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
- Has achieved significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, recognized experts; or
- Has commanded or will command a high salary or other compensation.
How do you prove extraordinary ability for a scientist, educator, business person, or athlete (O-1A)? Proving extraordinary ability for a scientist, educator, business person, or athlete is generally more rigorous than it is for artists. For this category you want to be able to show that the individual has obtained "a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavour." Extraordinary ability here is shown by providing evidence either of the foreign national's receipt of a "major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize", or documentation of at least 3 of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;
- Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
- Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;
- Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in teh same or an allied field of specialization;
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media;
- Current or previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
- Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
Is there a separate sub-category for individuals in motion picture or TV production? Yes, these individuals are technically in the "O-1B" category and they must have "a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement" that can be evidenced through extensive documentation. "Extraordinary achievement" here means a "very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or TV industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered". The criteria used to judge whether or not an individual meets the requirements is the same as that used for the arts, except the standard is thought to be slightly higher.
What if the above criteria does not apply for the different categories? If the above criteria does not clearly apply to your case, you can use "comparable evidence". It should be noted that there is some flexibility with the O-1 through creative advocacy. You should not let the term "extraordinary ability" scare you away.
Can I petition for myself? No, an O-1 visa must be submitted by an agent or employer on behalf of the extraordinary ability individual. A foreign national cannot self-petition himself or herself for the visa.
How long does the process take? The most time consuming part of any O-1 visa application is collecting all of the required supporting material and putting together the application. Due to the complex nature of an O-1, material must often be collected from many different sources, such as magazines, online references, third parties, recommenders, professional organizations, and other similar sources. It can often take weeks to several months to properly put together an O-1 application. Once the application is submitted, it can take USCIS up to approximately one month to make a decision on the application. If a quicker response is needed, the application can be submitted via premium processing for a 15 calendar day turnaround.
What are the filing fees? The O-1 visa petition fee is $325. Premium processing, which is optional, entails an additional filing fee of $1,225. The legal fee depends on the nature of the case and can only be quoted after discussing the matter over the phone or in person.
Who can pay the fees? Either the foreign applicant or the agent or employer can pay the fees.
I don't live in New York. Can you still work with me? Absolutely. We work with foreign nationals and employers from all across the U.S. and throughout the world. Whether we meet in person, over the phone, or using the internet, our strong communication will be an asset to your case.
What if I won't be classically employed by a company or organization, but rather I will work with an agent? In this scenario you will definitely need an itinerary detailing the the nature of the events that you will be engaged in over the period of time that you are seeking the O-1 approval. Furthermore, the O-1 agent must provide a contractual agreement between the agent and the foreign national which specifies the wage offered and the other terms and conditions of employment.
How does the process work with an agent? A person or company in business as an agent may file a petition on behalf of an O-1 individual involving multiple engagements or employers as the representative of both the employers and the foreign national. In such a scenario, a complete itinerary of the event or events must be included with the application.
What are the O-1 Visa Lawyer legal fees for representation? Give us a call and we will be happy to discuss our fees with you. Rest easy, Lightman Law Firm prides itself in offering the highest level of service at an affordable FLAT rate. You will never experience any pressure or obligation to work with us.
Put our O-1 Visa Attorney experience to work for you.
Did You Know?
Some Interesting O-1 Visa Facts that May Help You:
Consultations/Written Advisory Opinion
Generally speaking, a consultation/written advisory opinion is required from a labor union before an O-1 visa petition may be adjudicated. If a union has a collective bargaining agreement in the field, then that is the appropriate union with which to consult. Otherwise, a union with expertise in the field is appropriate. If there is no labor union in the field, the letter can come from an individual with expertise in the foreign national's field or a "peer group" with a strong focus on the field.
Full-time or Part-time for O-1 Status
You may apply for an O-1 visa for a full-time position or a part-time position.
O-1 Visa Itinerary
An itinerary describing the dates of each engagement or service, the names and addresses of the organizations or events, and the names and addresses of the establishments, venues, or locations where the services will be performed has become very important in the adjudication of an O-1 visa application, especially if an agent is involved. The itinerary needs to be provided by the agent or employer and it should be supplemented with any available documentation evidencing the various engagements and the terms and conditions, if possible.
O-1 Visa Transfer
You can transfer your O-1 Visa from one employer or agent to another. There is no limit on the number of O-1 transfer applications that can be filed. When you submit a transfer application, you can only begin working for the new employer or agent when the application is approved.
O-1 Holder's Spouse & Children
An O-1 visa holder’s spouse and children can apply for O-3 visas based on their relationship to the O-1 holder. O-3 visa holders cannot work in the U.S., but they can go to school and they are in legal status while in the U.S.
Duration of the O-1 Visa
The O-1 can be obtained for up to a 3 year period for each application. There is no overall time limit on O-1s as there is with the H-1B visa or L-1 visa.
O-1A v. O-1B
The O-1A designation is ued for all O-1 applications that fall within the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. The O-1B designation is for individuals in motion picture or TV production. See the above Q & A for an overview of the criteria for each.
From O-1 to a Green Card
For some individuals, an O-1 may be a prelude to a self-sponsored EB-1 green card application. Of course, an O-1 may be eligible for an employment based green card through the EB-2 and EB-3 categories as well, but unless applying through the "National Interest Waiver" sub-category, these categories will require employer sponsorship unlike the EB-1 category. Just like the vast majority of most other nonimmigrant status holders, an O-1 can apply for a green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen. For more info on the options available for a marriage green card, see the following: marriage green card process.
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