How do I apply for an O-1 Visa? What kind of documents are needed and what experience is deemed as “good enough”?

An O-1 visa is a visa for people with extraordinary abilities or achievements. These achievements or abilities can be in:

  • Science
  • Art
  • Education
  • Business
  • Sports

Otherwise, it can be used for a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in television or movies and is nationally or internationally recognized.

If you want to qualify for an O-1, you must be able to prove your extraordinary ability:

  • Sustained national or international recognition for movies or television. However, with this, the individual must plan to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis to work in their area of expertise.
  • Science, education, business, or sports. Your level of expertise must show that you are in the very top of your field.
  • Art. You must have a degree of skill and recognition that would make you renowned, leading, or well-known.

As far as documentation, first the petitioner would file a Form I-129 with the USCIS. The petition can’t be filed more than a year before the immigrant would come to the U.S., but should be at least 45 days before the start of employment.

You will need to provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group or from someone with expertise in the ability area. So, it’s not a matter about experience that is “good enough.” This consultation must include a watermark or another distinctive mark to show its authenticity. Use the original with USCIS and not copies. Copies can cause a delay in the processing of the visa. If there is no appropriate peer group, then there must be a record of evidence of your extraordinary ability in order to qualify for a waiver.

You will need to provide a copy of a contract between the petitioning organization and the immigrant. Sometimes, a summary of an oral agreement can be used. However, it is much easier to use some sort of written documentation (including copies of emails). An oral summary of terms must include what was offered by the petitioner and what was accepted by the immigrant.

You must also provide an itinerary that explains the events or activities from the beginning of your stay through the end of your stay. These events must fall into your area of expertise.

It can be a lot of work to petition and receive an O-1 visa. Since you’re concerned about proving what would constitute being eligible for this particular visa, you should visit with an immigration attorney through LawTrades. We are a legal marketplace and we help people navigate the long (and often confusing) visa process. We pride ourselves in how helping our clients from start to finish with their needs.