An O visa is a classification of non-immigrant temporary worker visa granted by the United States to an alien "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 recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements," and to certain assistants and immediate family members of such aliens.

There are three types of O visas:

  • O-1A – individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B – individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
  • O-2 – individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. "For an O-1A, the O-2's assistance must be an 'integral part' of the O-1A's activity. For an O-1B, the O-2's assistance must be 'essential' to the completion of the O-1B's production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1."
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.

An O-1 visa is initially granted for up to three years. It can be extended for one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted. The term "O-1" refers to 8 U.S.C. § 1101(O)(i) (also known as Section 101(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides for the admission of "aliens of extraordinary ability" in the stated fields. Spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa holders do not receive the status, but instead qualify for O-3 visas.

Unlike many other temporary employment visas, the applicant need not demonstrate proof of binding ties to a residence outside the United States which the applicant has no intention of abandoning.


Immigration Law changes frequently.
While this web page is intended to provide useful information, you are always strongly advised to consult a competent legal counsel John A. Nicelli Esq. Call: (212) 227-8020.

Mr. John A. Nicelli Esq. assumes no liability for any reliance on information provided on this website. This information is a guide to help you understand the information you seek and should not be considered legal advice.