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What is an O Nonimmigrant Visa and who are “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability”?

There are three (3) types of O nonimmigrants (apart from a spouse and child). An O-1A nonimmigrant is a foreign national who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation, and who seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

An O-1B nonimmigrant is a foreign national who, with regard to motion picture and television productions, has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation, and who seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

An O-2 nonimmigrant is a foreign national who seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of accompanying and assisting in the artistic or athletic performance by a foreign national who is admitted for a specific event or events, is an integral part of such actual performance, has critical skills and experience with such foreign national which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by other individuals, or, in the case of a motion picture or television production, has skills and experience with such foreign national which are not of a general nature and which are critical either based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship or, with respect to the specific production, because significant production (including pre- and post-production work) will take place both inside and outside the United States and the continuing participation of the foreign national is essential to the successful completion of the production.

Extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics is a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of their field of endeavor. Extraordinary ability in the arts means distinction, a high level of achievement in the field of arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. This category requires the petitioner to establish only that the artist is prominent in his field of endeavor. Finally, extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industry means a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or TV industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered. The person must be outstanding or notable.

This guide was developed by Meyers & Meyers, LLP as a resource to help you understand some aspects of Immigration Law, which is very complex. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. We recommend you contact one of our experienced Immigration Attorneys to devise an individualized plan to help you and/or your company achieve your goals. Please contact Meyers & Meyers, LLP at information@meyersandmeyers.com for assistance.

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