What Is the O-1 Visa?

Last Updated on May 29, 2024

What Is the O-1 Visa? 

Intended for those at the top of their fields, the O visa is a specialized U.S. employment visa designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in fields such as sciences, arts, education, business and athletics.  

Recognizing the challenges posed by the rarity of the O visa category, our blog aims to address your top O visa-related questions.  

The O-1 Visa: Defining Extraordinary Ability

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. 

The O-1 Visa Qualifications: Are You Eligible?

O Visa Employer Requirements

Employers may be required to present proof of the following during the O visa application process: 

  • Financial statements or annual report  
  • Catalogs, brochures, or other types of informational literature 
  • Employment contract 

O Visa Employee Requirements

Meanwhile, employees may be required to provide the following: 

  • Form I-94*  
  • Arrival/Departure Record 
  • Passport Previous visa stamps, if any 
  • All previous Form I-797 Approval Notices, if any  
  • Documentation evidencing the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability 
  • Recommendation letters  
  • Payroll paycheck stubs for the last two pay periods*  
  • Resume or curriculum vitae 

However, document requirements vary depending on whether the applicant is located inside or outside the U.S. Additionally, the documentation proving extraordinary ability will differ based on the individual applicant.  

Envoy Global’s legal team can provide applicants and their employers with a personalized checklist to ensure a smooth application process.  

How to Apply for the O-1 Visa

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 for up to one year. This means the total stay for the O-1 varies. 

O-1 Visa and Green Card

O-1 holders who have completed select portions of the green card application process may be able to extend their status beyond the maximum period of stay.  

We recommend that you speak to your attorney if the temporary nature of the assignment changes.  

How Much Does the O-1 Visa Cost?

USCIS introduced new filing fees on April 1, 2024.
USCIS increased filing fees on April 1, 2024. For additional insights on visa filing fees, check out our latest blog.

As of 2024, these are the current O-1 visa fees are: 

  • O-1 Petition: $1,055 
  • O-1 Petition for small employers and nonprofits: $530  
  • Premium processing fees have increased from $2,500 to $2,805. USCIS will adjudicate the H-1B petition—meaning they will approve, issue a request for evidence or deny the petition—within 15 business days. 

O Visa Applicants Located Outside the U.S.

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.

About Envoy Global and the O Visa Process

Envoy Global can help you navigate the O-1 visa and other immigration matters by combining top immigration law firms and a robust technology platform. If you’re seeking to simplify your company’s immigration program, contact us to learn more. 

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Envoy is pleased to provide you with this information, which was prepared in Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., a U.S. law firm who provides services through the Envoy Platform (the “U.S. Law Firm”).  

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Envoy is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice. If you would like guidance on how this information may impact your particular situation and you are a client of the U.S. Law Firm, consult your attorney. If you are not a client of the U.S. Law Firm working with Envoy, consult another qualified professional. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship with the U.S. Law Firm.