DC O Visa Lawyer

The O visa allows certain individuals with “extraordinary ability” in the arts (including the motion picture or television industry), sciences, education, business, or athletics to live in the U.S. to practice their craft for up to three years.  The O visa is particularly popular for outstanding scientific researchers but can apply to a broad range of skill sets. Contact a DC O visa lawyer if you have any questions about filing an application for this kind of non-immigrant visa.

When you work with the experienced DC O visa attorneys at our firm, you’ll have the benefit of years of immigration experience on your side as you compile and submit your application materials. Call today to speak with a DC employment visa attorney who can help.

“Extraordinary Ability” is a nebulous term that is obviously somewhat subjective. However, it is generally defined to be “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of their field of endeavor.” Applicants are required to demonstrate their elite level of achievement through extensive documentation including, but not limited to, nationally or internationally recognized awards, membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement, published materials about the applicant, evidence that the applicant has been recruited to participate in the judging of others in the field, proof of the publication of original scientific or scholarly work of major significance, other evidence of the authoring of scholarly work, evidence that the applicant has been employed in a high-level capacity at a distinguished organization, or evidence that the applicant commands a high salary in comparison with others in their chosen field.

O visa applicants must be seeking to enter the U.S. for the purpose of continuing in their field of expertise.

Artists and athletes may also apply for the temporary admission of other individuals to accompany them to assist them with a specific event, as long as those individuals make up an integral part of the actual performance.

Because of the high bar to prove “extraordinariness,” it is advisable for applicants who may be on the cusp of qualifying for O visas to evaluate the many other visa categories that are targeted at highly skilled individuals, such as H-1B visas, other types of employment visas, P visas (reserved specifically for performers and athletes) or J-1 visas for participants in a cultural exchange.

An O Visa Lawyer in DC Can Help

The evidentiary standard for O visa applicants is high, so it is advisable to contact an experienced immigration attorney prior to applying.  If you would like to discuss your eligibility for the O class of non-immigrant visas, please contact a DC O visa lawyer for a consultation.

Below are some frequently asked questions:

What Does Extraordinary Ability Mean?

Extraordinary ability is really a subjective term especially because it’s different for every field, i.e., proving such ability in the sciences obviously is much different than proving extraordinary ability in the arts. Basically you need to be someone who’s a very – at a very high level in their field, so  if you’re an individual that’s working in the sciences, you might want to submit  international awards that you’ve received or maybe publications of scholarly articles, that kind of a thing.

If you’re maybe an artist, you may be able to submit  proof that you had exhibitions at galleries or that you have been a part of  prestigious theatrical performances, things like that. So you basically have to prove that you’re at a very high level in your field.

Another thing you can actually use to prove extraordinary ability is showing evidence of commanding a very high salary or being paid very well for what you do. So, if you’re getting paid millions of dollars to appear in a TV show or something like that, it’s going to be easier than if you’re a struggling actor. Evidence of extraordinary ability can be satisfied by a proof of outstanding achievement in your field.

Why Might an O-Visa Not Be Accepted?

The biggest reason would be your inability to approve extraordinary ability. There’s a high bar for approving extraordinary ability and you have to provide extensive documentation that you meet it.  If you’re in the academic field, you’d want to submit your entire curriculum vitae, recommendation letters, evidence of any kind of award or honors you’ve ever received, maybe comments on – or reviews of your work by other people in your field, that kind of thing. It has to be extensively documented.

Sometimes people are lax in what they submit and that’s probably the biggest reason that they can be denied.

Do You Need to Know English to Get an O-1 Visa?

No, you don’t need to know English. For example, if you’re an opera singer, you’re not going to have to speak English to perform in your chosen field when you enter the United States.

How Long Does It The O-Visa Process Typically Take?

It varies, but the adjudication time is about four months to get approved in the United States and then you have to go through the consular interview just like any other visa that you’re going to apply for from abroad.

Why is Hiring an O-Visa Attorney Important for the Application Process?

Because the supporting documentation that is required – the evidence required to prove that you have extraordinary ability, in other words, is very rigorous. It’s good to have an experienced DC O Visa lawyer who knows how to structure and organize and present your case in the best light possible.

How Long Does an O-Visa Last? When Does it Expire?

They’re valid for up to three years. They can be issued for less time than that, but it’s up to three years. Sometimes individuals can extend their stay, but they’ll be extended only for the time that’s necessary to complete the reason for your entry.

So, if you’re here for some sort of a performance, say you’re in a play or musical tour and it’s been extended for a longer run, you could extend your visa for that duration of time. They’re generally extended in increments of up to a year, but no more than that.

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