The O-1B non-immigrant visa permits individuals who demonstrates nationally or internationally recognized extraordinary ability in the fields of the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry, to stay and and work in their specialized fields in the United States on a temporary basis. O-1B holders’ spouses and children under 21 may accompany and follow O-1B holders to the United States but no work permit would be granted. No annual numerical quota limitation is imposed on O-1B Visa while O-1B applicants must prove their extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement subject to strict documentation requirement.
To qualify for O-1B Visa, the petitioner must demonstrate that:
Individuals who hold nationally or internationally recognized extraordinary ability in the fields of arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry may be eligible for this type of O-1B Visa.
O-1B Visa is designed for foreign individuals with extraordinary ability in the fields of arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry to be admitted to the United States to improve the United States culture and economic. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts refers to 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. On the other hand, the requirement of extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry is stricter and 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 must be shown. Evidence may either be an one-time receipt or nomination of major, national or international recognized award, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award, or facts supporting at least three of following criteria:
In case the evidence demonstrating the above mentioned criteria, other comparable evidence may be shown to establish the eligibility while it is subject to the USCIS’ adjudication on a case by case basis.
Furthermore, O-1B petitioners must demonstrate an official written advisory opinion from a U.S. organization or an expert in the arts field of extraordinary ability or from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the motion picture or television industry obtained through consultation process to support their claimed extraordinary ability or achievement. Such consultation requirement would be waived if appropriate peer group does not exist or if, in the case of petition for the individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, the individuals seeks readmission to perform similar services within 2 years of the date of a previous consultation and waiver requests submitted accordingly.
Since O-1B Visa may not be self-petitioned by the individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement, O-1B applicants must secure an employment as sponsorship prior to the petition. The individuals’ direct employers or agents or managers may serve as qualifying sponsors. The direct employers refers to the people, organizations or companies the individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement directly and solely serves. On the other hand, the individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement may appoint agents or managers to represent and obtain works, and have such agents or managers file O-1B petitions on behalf of them. A qualifying U.S. Agent includes the actual employer of the individual, the representative of both the employer and the individual, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent. In this case, the individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement may simultaneously work for other employers during the validity of their O-1B Visa, provided the sponsoring agents’ or managers’ representation continuously remain.
Noted that due to strict supporting documentation requirement, O-1B Visa is by far one of the most difficult visas to get. A professional consultant’s opinions and strategy is highly recommended to seek for.
The O-1B Visa would be approved for an initial stay of up to three years while unlimited extension at one-year increments are available, provided the performance of the events or activities require the O-1B holders’ continuous presence in the United States. Except for a statement demonstrating the necessity of the O-1B holders’ extension, the petition of extension does not require any updated consultation and advisory opinion. However, change of employer or position would be considered as a new event and all petitioning documentation would thus be needed for a new petition, under which the validity of O-1B granted would be initially a period of stay of up to three years.
The spouses and children under the age of 21 of the O-1B holders’ may apply for O-3 Visa to accompany and follow them to the United States. Dependents’ O-3 Visa would be granted of the same period of stay as the O-1B holders’, which may be for an initial period of up to three years with indefinite extensions subject to O-1B holders’ approved extensions. However, O-3 holders are not allowed to work in the United States.
Such dependents may simultaneously file O-3 petition for change of status with the the O-1B petition for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement if they are already in the United States. On the other hand, they have to wait to file O-3 petition after O-1B petition being approved in the U.S. Consulate Process.