What is an O 1 Visa

Who is the visa suitable for?

The O-1 visa was created to give particularly talented foreigners an opportunity to live and work in the US in order to strengthen the US economy. The visa is intended for individuals with exceptional skills in the fields of science, art, sports, education, the arts, or excellence in the film and television industries.

Requirements for employees

The employee must show that he has a level of skills well above the average in the respective specialist area, for example through prizes, activities as a juror, publication in recognized specialist journals or membership in elite groups.

Difference between O-1A and O-1B and their requirements / conditions

The O-1A visa is for the fields of science, business, sport and education.

As evidence, at least three of the following criteria must be met:

  • Receipt of a prize for outstanding performance in the field
  • Membership in an elite group to promote special talents
  • Publication of an article in recognized specialist journals
  • Activity as a juror in the respective subject area
  • Outstanding contributions to the field
  • Authoring in professional journals
  • Work for a recognized organization in the field
  • Above-average salary or remuneration for work in the specialist area

The O-1A visa is issued to individuals with outstanding achievements in the arts and film / television industries.

At least three of the following criteria must be met as evidence:

  • Participation as a main or supporting actor in an outstanding film production or equivalent artistic activity
  • Great reputation and recognition in the respective field
  • Recognition from eminent professionals in the industry
  • Above-average salary or remuneration for work in the specialist area
  • Positive reviews for a production by social organizations
  • Great commercial success of a production

Apply for an O-1 visa

A previous job offer from a US company is mandatory for the application. The employer plays a major role in applying for the visa, which is why the involvement of the company is essential.

The application for the O-1 visa takes place in two steps. In the first step, the US company (employer) has to file a petition with the US immigration authorities. Among other things, evidence of the potential employee's extraordinary abilities must be submitted there. The processing of the documents takes some time, usually waiting times of 1-3 months are usual.

After receiving a positive decision from the US immigration authorities, the consular procedure begins.

Every visa application requires a face-to-face interview with a US consulate to decide whether to approve or reject it. Depending on the visa, you need certain documents that you have to submit.

For the O-1 visa you have to present the following documents at the interview appointment:

  • Form I-797 “Notice of Action / Approval” (copy or original)

In addition, the following documents must be submitted for each interview appointment:

  • Valid passport
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • Appointment confirmation
  • photo

The DS-160 form is mandatory for every visa application and can be filled out online. After paying the visa application fee in the amount of You can make an appointment with a US consulate for $ 160.

More information about the DS-160 form can be found here.

O-1 visa cost and duration

Usually the O-1 visa is issued for three years and can theoretically be extended indefinitely for one year as long as the job exists.

In addition, it is possible for spouses or children under the age of 21 to apply for a visa derived from the O-3 applicant. This allows them to attend public educational institutions, but they are not allowed to work.
The cost of applying for an O-1 visa consists of the visa application fee ($ 160) and the O-1 fee ($ 190) for a total of $ 350.