O-1A Visa: Scientists, Athletes, Business, and Educators
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
This petition requires a beneficiary to submit evidence that he/she has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
- Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field;
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought;
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
- A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought; or
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.
Contract Between Petitioner & Beneficiary
In addition, the O-1 regulations require an offer of employment by a petitioner who is willing to “sponsor” the beneficiary for the O-1 visa.
We typically show this in the form of a copy of any written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary, or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed.
NOTE: USCIS will accept an oral contract, as evidenced by the summation of the elements of the oral agreement. Such evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the contractual parties, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence which demonstrates that an oral agreement was created.
The summary of the terms of the oral agreement must contain:
- What was offered by the employer; and
- What was accepted by the employee.The summary does not have to be signed by both parties to establish the oral agreement. However, it must document the terms of the employment offered and that the beneficiary has agreed to the offer.
The petitioner must establish that there are actual events or activities in the beneficiary’s field lined up for the validity period requested. In other words, an applicant cannot obtain an O-1 visa to “look” for jobs – it must be shown that a U.S. employer or agent has specific work events lined up over the period of time requested for the O-1 visa (up to three years). The itinerary must include an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, the location of the events, etc.
The beneficiary must submit a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist, the decision will be based on the evidence of record.
A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.
NOTE: A petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for the other employers. Additionally, agents filing I-129 Petitions for multiple employers must include with the Petition:
- Supporting documentation including a complete itinerary of the event or events which specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of the establishments, venues, or locations where the services will be performed;
- Contracts between the actual employers and the beneficiary; and
- An explanation of the terms and conditions of the employment with required documentation.
Please contact our office for further information if you think this may be an option of interest to you.