Even as President Donald Trump-led US administration is increasing restrictions on H-1B for professionals willing to work in America, there is no stopping “extraordinary individuals” from getting into the country. Thanks to O-1 Visa, which comes in four categories — O-1A, O-1B, O-2 and 0. A Times of India report says that the popularity of O-1 Visa has been increasing among Indian applicants in the last few years.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, “O-1 non-immigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognised nationally or internationally for those achievements.”
There are four classifications of O-1 nonimmigrant visa:
O-1A Visa: For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
O-1B Visa: For individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
O-2 Visa: For individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. The Homeland Security department says “for an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. Similarly, for O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker needs to have “critical skills and experience” with the O-1 which cannot be “readily” performed by a US worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.
O-3 Visa: For individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s
Eligibility: In order to qualify for the 0-1 Visa, an individual must demonstrate the following:
a) “extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim.” The applicant must be vising the US temporarily to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
b) The “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.”
c) Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction, which is judged by a “high-level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.”
d) To get an an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary needs to demonstrate extraordinary achievement. The person must be “recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.”
While for the O-1A Visa, the applicant has to demonstrate “extraordinary ability”, it is “distinction” for O-1B. Experts believe that proving the “distinction” is relatively less rigorous as it can be shown by recognition in the media or among peers in the field concerned.
The O-1 Visa applicants are required to file Form I-129, which is the petition for non-immigrant worker with the USCIS office. The form must be filed at least 45 days ahead of the date of employment, according to the Homeland department.
Getting an O-1 visa is a bit challenging but the number of Indians visiting the US on this visa has increased over the years. The ToI report says that in 2015 alone, 1137 Indians were allowed to visit the US in 2015.