Change of Status from Visitor Visa to Green Card

O-1 Visa for Individual with Extraordinary Ability

O Visa AttorneyBusinesses or associations interested in hiring highly qualified or highly skilled foreign nationals may suggest the individual apply for on O-1 visa. The O visa applies to individuals in science, business, athletics, education or the arts who show exemplary skill, experience and knowledge in their field.

The O-1 visa is available in two different forms, the O-1A and the O-1B visa. The O-1A visa is available to those in non-art fields, while the O-1B exists to provide highly qualified artists and film makers with the ability to work in the United States.

To be approved for an O-1 visa, an individual is expected to have received some award of international acclaim (i.e. Nobel Peace Prize for scholarly fields, a Grammy, Emmy or Tony award for artists or Olympic medal for athletes) OR to have met at least 3 of the following criteria:

1. Be a member of an association in the field that requires outstanding achievements to join
2. Make a major contribution to the academic field
3. Be the author of a scholarly article of major significance
4. Participate on a panel in the field
5. Employed in “essential capacity” for an organization of distinguished reputation
6. Earn a high salary in the field in their home country

The O-1 visa is special as it only applies to those with extraordinaryability. In addition to the aforementioned criteria being met, other precautions need to be established to ensure neither the sponsoring organization not the foreign national are exploiting the American visa system. To ensure this, the sponsor must be met by a consultant from an appropriate labor union or a management organization from the appropriate field.

The O-1 visa costs $325* processing fee and it takes about 6-7 months to be granted. However, premium processing is available for O-1 and petition can be adjudicated within 15 business days.

Note: The filing fee increases to $460 on December 23, 2016. Petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fee or USCIS will reject the submission.

iLexLaw, located at 2101 L St., NW, Washington D.C., focuses on immigration law. The attorney’s and legal assistants are trained to assist those attempting to gain entry into the United States. For question on immigration law, the O-1 visa, or other work visas, feels free to contact us at 202.367.9138 or email