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What Is the O-1 Visa?

Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Erik Prado

What Is the O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa category is for people who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics.

Extraordinary ability means the person has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor and is known internationally, or nationally, for their achievements.

To obtain an O-1, a written advisory opinion might be required in the application from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of specialization. Not all O-1 visas require this written advisory opinion.


How Long Does The O-1 Visa Last?

The O-1 visa has an initial stay period of three years. After that, individuals can apply for renewals and the government may grant unlimited extensions up to one year. This means the total stay for the O-1 varies.

If the temporary nature of the assignment changes, we recommend that you speak to an attorney.

O-1 Visa Application and Filing Fees

  • Petition filing fee: $460
  • Premium processing: Employers can pay the $2,500 premium processing fee when available. This means USCIS will adjudicate the O-1 petition within 15 calendar days. With premium processing, USCIS is required to approve, issue a request for evidence of deny the visa petition within 15 calendar days.

If the foreign national is outside the U.S., they likely will need to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. in the specific visa category prior to entering the U.S. in the specific status.

For more information on the O-1, download our guide, Introduction to the O Visa.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.