O 1 Visa Requirements & Step by Step Guide

Everything about: O1 visa | O2 visa | Talent Visa | Artist visa | Extra ordinary Visa & Immigration Process

This article talks about O 1 visa usa, also called extraordinary ability visa, artist visa usa, entertainment visa usa, talent visa usa. Everything you need to know in one piece! What is 01 visa, O1 visa requirements, pros and cons, O1 Visa Processing Time and fees. 

What is O visa ?

Visa Type Definition
O 1 Visa Immigration Visa for People with extraordinary abilities
O 1 A Visa extraordinary abilities in education, science, business or athletics
O 1 B Visa extraordinary abilities in art, film, music, food, culture
O 2 Visa Manager, Assistant, Co-worker, team member, crew Member of O-1 A or  O-1 B
O 3 Visa Family member of O 1 Visa applicant. Spouse and children under 21 

Types Of O VISA

O VISA Criteria

O VISA  Processing Time


Thousands of talented People Immigrate to USA every Year! 

So you have an extraordinary ability!? You are looking for ways to move to the United States? You know that America is the land of dreams and you are ready to share your talent and art with the world? 

Thousands of talented people have already made it in the US and you can be one of them! 

Here is a problem! Talented people often get confused when it comes to choosing a legal way to stay in the United States. Some of them become College students.  And pay $60,000 in tuition fees only to get a student visa for a limited period.

Others apply for asylum and depriving themselves of opportunity to ever come back to their own country. None of these visas give a chance to pursue their dream, build a career and succeed in what they really want to do.

But there is a great answer to this problem – and it’s O visa – Extraordinary Visa

Are you qualified for O1 Visa?

Have you ever received any awards?

Which of the statements describes you better?

What's your marital status?

Do you meet any of O1 visa requirements below?

Why O Visa? 

O1 visa allows you, your family and your team to legally live and work in the United States.

Today you got lucky and you know why? Because we are the #1 O1 Visa Lawyer Offices in the US! We have never received an O visa denial in the history of our law firm! Thousands of our clients are now legally residing and working in the United States. They are getting into the charts, walking on the red carpet, selling their bestsellers books and much more! And we will be happy to help you with your first steps to the dream!

We made it easy for you! In this article you will find everything you need to know about O visa! Here is your step by step guide about how to get an artist visa usa and move to the US! Stick with us to see if you qualify and can start pursuing your artist career in the United States today! 

What is O 1 visa?

O1 visa (also called extraordinary ability visa, artist visa usa, entertainment visa usa, talent visa usa) is a non-resident visa for people with extraordinary abilities. What is considered extraordinary ability? It means that you have achieved distinction and/or gained national or international recognition within a certain field.

For example, arts, television, sports, business, education, science and etc.

O1 visa is issued for a period of three years. It can be extended for one more year upon expiration. As of 2019, there is no limit on extensions. This means that you can apply for extension as many times as you need.

In order to get an approval for extension o1 visa holder has to demonstrate that he or she is still working within the same field for which the original visa was granted. 


There are 4 types of Extraordinary Visa (O visa )

There exist four categories of O visa. They depend on the activity or function you are planning to fulfill upon arrival in the United States. 

O1 A Visa – is a visa for people who have extraordinary abilities in education, science, business or athletics. 

Who can qualify: scientists, researchers, athletes, entrepreneurs, business owners

O1 B Visa is a visa for people who can demonstrate extraordinary achievements in the arts, motion picture and television industries. 

Who can qualify: actors, musicians, directors, producers

O2 Visa is a visa for people who will accompany an O1 visa holder and assist in his or her activity in the US. O2 Visa applicants should be able to prove that they are an integral part of the specific event or performance. They need to show that their assistance is essential in the completion of the project. 

Who can qualify: producers, managers, assistants, music band

O3 Visa is a visa available for spouses and children under 21 who can accompany O1 visa holder. But they are not allowed to accept employment under O3 visa

Who can qualify: lawfully married husband or wife, and children under 21

Who qualifies for 01 visa?

People who can demonstrate and prove extraordinary ability in their professional field can qualify for O1 visa. There are two ways to do it: 

#1 You have to be nominated and /or receive a major national or international award or prize in your field 

#2 What to do if you have not been nominated for and/or received any significant awards or prizes?

In this case, you will have to satisfy at least three of the criteria listed below. Besides, you would need to provide sufficient evidence supporting each of them.

1. You are a member of an organization whose membership requires outstanding achievement. 

2. Your work has been featured in mainstream media or in professional publications. The publications should have distinguished reputation.

3. You have received a significant recognition for achievements in your field. You can provide references from critics, organizations, government agencies, or other recognized experts.

4. You have made a significant original contribution in science or business.

5. You have served as a judge of others in your field or a related field.

6. You have performed in a leading or critical role for well-known organizations and establishments. You can provide a record of your participation in newspapers, trade journals and other publications. 

7. You can provide a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success of your product. For example, rating, sales statistics, publications in journals and newspapers. 

8. You command a high salary for your professional services compared to others in your field.

* You can provide any other relevant evidence of extraordinary abilities and exceptional expertise in your field that are not covered by any of the above listed criteria.

Find out if you qualify for O visa?!

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What’s interesting about the criteria is that they work as a checklist. Once you meet three out of eight, the case officer will most likely stop reviewing your application. It’s important to remember though that you receive no credit for partially fulfilled criteria. So make sure to provide comprehensive evidence to meet at least three criteria out of eight and get your artist visa usa approved. 

O1 Visa Requirements

At this point you should know if you qualify for O visa. Before starting to pack your suitcase, here is a list of O1 visa requirements you also need to keep in mind. 

When applying for o1 visa you need to prove that you are coming to the US to continue working within a field of your extraordinary ability. 

For example, you are an actor and you want to apply for artist visa usa. Your application for o1 visa should state that you are coming to the United States to participate in a movie project and not working for a Design company. 

The second requirement is to make sure that your work in the United States qualifies as an “event”.

For example, a movie project, a book tour, an album record or a traditional employment. The definition of the event is pretty broad. We would recommend getting advice from a lawyer in order to meet this requirement. 

Note: an artist visa usa holder is not permitted to engage in any freelance or self employment work. To get o1 visa approved, you need to provide evidence of the work you are planning to do in the United States. A signed contract may serve as such evidence. 

Another thing you need to keep in mind is to have a US employer or US agent. One of O1 visa requirements is that you are not permitted to submit a petition on your own. That is why you are going to need a representative in the United States. He or she would be able to file a petition on your behalf. 

Good thing is that even if you are planning to work and collaborate with multiple employers, you will only require one US agent to file a petition for you. 

Are you qualified for O1 Visa?

Have you ever received any awards?

Which of the statements describes you better?

What's your marital status?

Do you meet any of O1 visa requirements below?

What is the O1 Visa Processing Time?

Getting 01 Visa is a relatively quick process. Besides the o1 visa processing time is manageable and can be expedited by your lawyer if needed. First of all, your employer or sponsor would need to submit an I-129 form with USCIS on your behalf. Make sure to consult with a lawyer to include all necessary documentation and increase your chances of getting an approval. 


On average, the I-129 form takes up to 6 months to process. It depends on several factors. Firstly, what service center is processing your application. And secondly, if you are currently in the United States or abroad. 


Let’s say you are abroad at the moment of submitting a petition. In this case you would have to go through a consular processing. This means that you would schedule an appointment with the U.S. embassy in your country and have an interview with an officer. 

If you are in the US on a different visa, then the status of your visa will automatically change as soon as your O1 visa petition is approved. 

Can I expedite the O1 visa processing time

If for some reason you can’t wait for six months, you have a right to expedite your petition. In this case you would opt for premium processing service. This feature is optional and is provided by the USCIS on request. Applicants are allowed to have their petitions processed within three working weeks for an extra fee. You should keep in mind though that premium processing service does not increase your chances of being approved. 

How much does O1 visa cost

Below you will find the O1 visa cost and all mandatory processing fees as of 2019. 

I-129 form filing fee is $460. You will pay the same amount every time you file the petition including extensions and amendments. 

DS-160 filing fee is $190. This payment will be required when using consular processing outside of the United States. 

Optional premium processing will cost you $1,410. This amount can be covered by you or your employer.

Attorney fees – varies for each specific case and should be discussed with the lawyer directly. 

O visa extension fees

A new I-129 petitions is going to cost you $460

I-539 filing fee is $370. This fee only applies to applicants extending the status for their spouses and dependents under O2 visa or O3 visa. 

If you are looking into going from O1 visa to green card please contact our office for more information. 

What is an O2 visa

O2 Visa is a non immigrant visa for people accompanying O1 visa holders. It covers supporting staff in athletics, entertainment, TV production and motion picture. For example film or music producers. O2 visa however does not apply to support personnel in science, business or education. It allows to enter the U.S. and engage in official activities related to O1 visa holder agenda. 

O2 Visa Requirements

Here is what you need to demonstrate in order to qualify for an O2 visa

  • First of all, provide prove that you are an integral part of an O1 visa holder’s project. It means that you are the only person who can efficiently complete the work. Because you have critical skills of unique nature and experience that other individuals cannot showcase. 
  • You need to play an essential role in the production or event taking place. 
  • You also need to be able to demonstrate a long working history with 01 visa holders. Signed contracts and media coverage mentioning your role would be a good example of such prove. 
  • Demonstrate that you work in the United States is temporary. Keep in mind that O2 visa applicants are tied to an O1 visa principals. That is why you are not allowed to engage in any activities other than included on O1 visa holder’s agenda.
  • Prove the you maintain a permanent residence in a different country that you do not intend to abandon.

How to apply for an O2 visa?

Great thing is that the O2 visa process is very similar to the visa 01 process. You need to have a U.S employer or representative who must file an I-129 petition on your behalf. Along with all supporting documents indicating that you are an integral part of the O1 visa holder’s project. Keep in mind that your employer has to file your I-129 petition at the same time as the O1 holder’s. For best results we recommend letting a professional o1 visa lawyer guide you through this process. In order for your O2 visa application to be successful, you need to provide supporting evidence. 

Supporting evidence can include the following:

1. Signed agreement indicating the terms and conditions of the collaboration between the O1 visa holder and the O2 visa applicant 

2. Statement detailing the specifics of the event taking place in the United States and your role in it

3. Recommendation letter from a distinguished peer group or labor organization in your field

O2 visa processing time

O2 visa processing time varies depending on the service center that is processing your petition. Typically, it takes between five and six months from the beginning to the end of the process. 

O2 visa fee is $460 and is a part of an application process. 

If the project that you are planning to participate in starts sooner than six months you can opt for premium processing. This means that you can pay an additional O2 visa fee and receive a reply within 15 calendar days. O2 visa premium processing costs $1,225. But if USCIS fails to process your petition in time, you should receive a full refund! You must remember that O2 visa premium processing does not guarantee that your petition will be approved. It also does not affect any other step in the O2 visa process. It only expedites the I-129 petition. 

In case you are already in the U.S. under a different non immigrant visa, your status will automatically change as soon as your o2 visa petition is approved. If you are currently outside of the U.S. you will need to go through a consular processing. This includes completing a DS-160 online non immigrant visa application and making an appointment with the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country.

Here isa breakdown of charges you may face: 

Change of Status
  • Basic I-129 filing fee: $460
  • O2 visa premium processing fee (upon request): $1,225


Consular Processing
  • Basic I-129 filing fee: $460
  • O2 visa premium processing fee (upon request): $1,225
  • DS-160 fee: $190
  • Biometrics fee (when applicable): $85

How long can I stay in the U.S. under O2 visa?

O visa is issued for an initial period of three years. O2 visa holder has the same duration of stay as the principal visa 01 holder. If the project requires an additional time to complete you have a chance to apply for an extension. There can be as many extensions as necessary in 1-year increments. As long as you continue working on the same project or event for which you were admitted into the U.S.

In order to file an extension your employer has to submit a new I-129 on your behalf. Make sure to keep a copy of your I-94 arrival/departure form because you would need to attach it to the petition.

O 1 visa to green card

How to get an artist green card or extraordinary ability green card

O1 visa is a non-immigrant visa. It means that you can only stay in the country temporarily. O1 visa doesn’t directly lead to permanent residence and doesn’t grant an artist green card. If you want to go from o 1 visa to green card, you should convert from non-immigrant visa to an immigrant visa. 

There are many types of immigrant visas. It can be based on making an investment in a US company, through a marriage to a US citizen, having a contract or a job offer from a US company. But the most common way of going from o1 visa to green card is applying for EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3. During their stay in the US under O1 visa individuals may advance in their career; they can reach a level in his or her field that will make them eligible for EB-1 (extraordinary ability green card) visa classification. 

Converting from o1 visa to green card is typically a two step process. First step would be getting an immigrant petition approved through USCIS. To do this you or your employer would need to file a Form I-140. The purpose of Form I-140 is to demonstrate an extraordinary ability in the field through sustained national or international acclaim. As soon as your petition is approved you can proceed with a second step.

At this point you would have two options: do an adjustment of status or apply for an immigrant visa.

O 1 visa to green card:

Adjustment of status

An adjustment of status is a process of changing from non-immigrant visa to an immigrant. People chose to go with this option when they are located in the United States. In order to do this an applicant needs to file a Form I-485 with USCIS. This form is also called an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. What makes you eligible to do an adjustment of status? A lawful presence in the US under a qualifying non-immigrant visa. For example, if at the moment of petition you are already in the US on an O1 visa, you will most likely qualify for adjustment of status.

O 1 visa to green card:

Apply for an immigrant visa

Applying for an immigrant visa would be an alternative to adjustment of status. Visa processing is also called a consular processing because it involves applying for an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad. As soon as your immigrant petition is approved you can file a Form DS-260 with the Department of State. You would then be able to schedule an interview at a consulate or embassy in your home country. Upon successful interview, you will receive an immigrant visa.

What is Extraordinary ability green card

EB1 is an extraordinary ability green card also called an artist green card. If you are at the top of your professional field and can show a record of sustained national or international acclaim you may qualify for EB1 visa. 

Here is what you need to demonstrate if you want to go from O 1 visa to green card:

  1. An extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, business, or athletics
  2. You must be coming to the United States to continue working in the field of your extraordinary ability
  3. You need to prove that you will provide a substantial benefit to the US

Benefits of Extraordinary ability green card

One of the benefits of an extraordinary ability green card is that it allows you to self-petition. Meaning that unlike O1 visa you do not need an employer or an agent to file your petition with USCIS. Moreover, no job offer or sponsorship from a US employer are required when going from O 1 visa to green card! 

We recommend using a professional lawyer when converting from O 1 visa to green card. He will make this process as smooth and easy as possible for you.

O1B visa in film and television industry

It’s not a secret that Hollywood is a Mecca of Movies. It attracts not only viewers but also professionals from the entertainment field who are looking for career opportunities. Every actor around the world is dreaming about taking their ambitions to the United States. 

Like everybody else actors and professionals working in motion picture or television field need to obtain a visa to legally work in the United States. The best option for them is O1 visa. 

O1B visa is specifically designed for individuals with extraordinary ability in cinema and television. Which offers a variety of relative criteria and makes it easier to qualify for than other visas. 


Who qualifies for O1 visa in film and television industry? 

Most visas in film and television industries are falling into O1B visa category. O1B category also called an artist of extraordinary ability, an artist visa us or a talent visa usa. O1b visa criteria do no not differ much from general criteria. In order to be granted an O1B visa individuals must demonstrate a record or extraordinary achievement in their professional field. A record of extraordinary achievement can be an award, press, reviews, a letter from experts in the field. For example an advisory letter from the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers of America (AMPTP), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA), and others. 

O1B visa covers a variety of situations. An actor who is invited to play an episodic role, a director who has been awarded a two-year contract with Netflix, a reality TV producer who is signing up for several simultaneous projects may all qualify for o1b visa. 

When a large production team is travelling to the US to work on a single project, the company will most likely select one artist as an O1 and petition for the rest of the group as the essential support personnel for the O1 beneficiary. O1 applicant would be most accomplished member of the production team. Typically a lead actor, director or producer. 

The best evidence for o1b visa would be a receipt or nomination for a major international award, such as Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, or BAFTA etc. When applying as a group O2 visa applicants should provide evidence of their previous work with o1 visa applicant. It is also very important to show their essentiality to the specific project. 

O1 Visa for musicians and artists

United States is the world’s largest and most dynamic entertainment market. Hundreds of festivals take place in the US every year attracting a great number of musicians and musical artists from all over the world. 

In order to legally perform and take part in musical projects in the US musicians and their team members should apply for O1b visa. O1b visa (also called an artist visa us or a talent visa usa) is for people with extraordinary ability in music industries and arts.

Who qualifies for O1B visa in music industry and arts

In order to qualify for O1b visa individuals must demonstrate extraordinary achievements in the arts, as well as sustained national or international acclaim. A nomination for a significant national or international award or prize such as an Academy Award, Emmy, or Grammy would be a great evidence of extraordinary achievements. But musicians and their team can also qualify for 01b visa by providing a number of evidence instead. Such as publications in major media, reviews by recognized experts in the field, a record of performing as a lead, starring or critical role organizations and establishments, a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, high salary compared to other in the field etc. 

As you already know, one of the criteria of qualifying for O1 visa is to have a US based sponsor or agent. This is a person who can file a petition on behalf of the musician and the crew. Typically this can be US managers, agents, record labels, event producers and even venues where the musicians are coming to perform. Besides, O1b visa applicants would need to present an agreement with a US agent. This agreement must generally describe the upcoming project or event and summarize the terms and conditions. The purpose of the agreement is also to prove that a musician is coming to the United States to work temporarily on a specific project or perform at the event. 

Applying as a group? Find out the best way! 

Very often musicians apply for o1b visa as a team. In this case an agent or a sponsor would file a lead member of the group under O1B visa and supporting members of the group under O2 visa. For example producer, sound engineer or even make up artist can qualify for o2 visa. O2 visa applicants would need to provide evidence of critical skills and essential support to the group and to the specific project. They will also need to prove their exceptional experience and demonstrate a record of work with visa 01 beneficiary.

O1 Visa for businessmen & entrepreneurs 

While o1 visa is often referred to as artist visa us or talent visa usa, your  extraordinary ability should not necessary be in arts. Many businessmen and entrepreneurs have gained substantial success in their professional field and can qualify for o1 visa. O1 visa is a great option to bring their talents to markets in the US. as well as participate in events. 

Who qualifies for O1 Visa for businessmen & entrepreneurs

There are eight main criteria an individual needs to satisfy when applying for O1 visa. They are generic and can apply across many fields of employment. That is why you should be creative when preparing a petition and adjust the requirements to fit your specific industry.

Prize Or Award

In case of business and entrepreneurship, a funding of your project from outside investors can serve as an evidence of a prize or an award. USCIS has actually acknowledged that investments from accredited angel investors as well as venture capital funding can count as an award in the field of entrepreneurship. Make sure to back this up with supporting evidence. Such as the reputation of the investor, a record of previous companies or projects that have received funding, criteria the investors have used to evaluate the companies or project. 

Membership of Association

One other thing that businessmen and entrepreneurs can do before applying for O1 visa is to join a professional association. You may not be actually interested in participating in the activities of the association. But being a member of one will certainly increase your chances of receiving an O1 visa. You can also reach out to coordinators of competitions for start-ups in your field and ask to serve as a judge. 

Original Contribution

Depending on the nature of business, the work itself can qualify as original contribution of significance in the field. The evidence for this criteria would be a letter of support from a peer group in the field of extraordinary ability. If there is no union or peer group in your professional field, you can also provide a letter from a recognized expert in the group. Besides, if you have a patent that proves an exceptional nature of your work or product make sure to keep all the records. They might be extremely beneficial for o1 visa process. 

Because O1 visa does not allow to self petition you would need to find a US agent or a US sponsor. Sometimes a sponsorship by the company the entrepreneur has founded is likely the sensible route. We recommend to consult with a lawyer before filing a petition. He will advise on the best way to proceed and increase your chances of getting O1 visa. 

O1 Visa for scientists

Scientists and researchers from all over the globe are potentially eligible for O-1 visa. O-1 visa is a great option when they are recruited to the US company or invited to be a part of a project or team at the american University. Like professionals in other fields, they need to meet 3 out of 8 criteria to be able to receive O-1 visa. However, most of the times, scientists and researchers can only 3 to 4 criteria when submitting a petition. Let’s look at a few examples. 

Most common criteria for o1 visa all scientitsts can easily satisfy


The most common criteria is Authorship. The proof of Authorship can be authored books, chapters in books or scholarly articles in the Professional Journals. These articles may also be part of their PhD or Masters program. While there is no exact number of articles needed to satisfy this criteria, our lawyers typically submit between one to six articles. 

Memebership of Organizations

Scientists and Researchers can also easily satisfy the Organizations criteria. If you are a scientist you would need to prove that you have worked as an important member of the successful company. Secretary and assistants are considered important members of a company. 

Perform as Judge

Another criteria that Scientists usually apply under are Judge and Associations. Scientists can present a record of acting as a judge through a competition or by reviewing the work of colleagues in the related field. Some scientists volunteer to become a reviewer for a Professional Journal in order to meet this criteria. Scientists can prove their extraordinary ability by being a member of a professional organization or association. It’s important that this organization or association should only allow members based on their expertise and achievements in the field. 

If you already have an O1 visa check with our lawyer if you qualify to upgrade your O 1 visa to green card!


  1. yuri

    Thank you Boddie Associates for such a valuable information about O visa. I was searching for talent visa articles and it was hard to find the one which includes all those o1 o2 o3 visa informations. I’m from Romania and interested in moving to USa. I want to immigrate with O visa for science category. I have patented 3 medical formuls and i have my own medical center here in Romania, so i’m interested to move to usa and continue my work here. I have some refference letters from well known USA science authors and was published in science talent magazine couple of years ago. Here is the case. I want to move with my family but my son is actually student at NYU so I don’t know can we get him O-3 visa if he already has student visa. can it somehow affect future o visa extension? thanks

  2. Emre Adrian

    Hello, I’m writing from turkey, I am famous artist from Turkey. I was planning to apply to O1 Visa for me and O2 visa for my art manager. Here is the case. I can bring my family with O 3 visa but my art manager can’t bring his family right? in the case of O visa application, maybe we should apply separately for O visa. Because my art Manager is a very talented guy, and one of the best art managers in Turkey. He has some national awards.

  3. Veronika Shevchuk

    I’m writing about talent visa. First of all thank you for the best article about artist visa USA. It helped me to understand main points and images are great to explain difficult lawyer language. As i see it’s the same visa as O visa, but there is one more visa for talented people which is Eb1. I read that it’s little hard than getting o visa, should have better awards like oscars. But For O visa it’s easier. Am i write? I am famous singer, musician here in Ukraine. I’m interested in appling for o visa for me and my band. We are planing to find a lawyer after moving to USA and apply for 01b visa. Let’s say i’ve applied and get O visa after that I will have 2 years legal immigration status in USA. after 2 years i can aplly and get 2 more years. But what if when i will be working in USA I will get new awards and will be eligible to apply for eb1 visa? Can I do that if I already have o visa?


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