Is there an Interview for O-1 Visa?

Is there an Interview for O-1 Visa?

Obtaining an O-1 visa, designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities, opens doors to exciting professional opportunities in the United States. As applicants embark on this journey, they may wonder if an interview is part of the visa application process. In this article, we explore whether an interview is required for the O-1 visa, providing insights into the process and offering guidance to help applicants navigate this aspect of their visa application.

Understanding the Visa Application Process

The O-1 visa application process involves several steps, including gathering supporting documentation, submitting the application, and awaiting a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the O-1 visa does not typically require an in-person interview as part of the application process.

Interview Exemption for O-1 Visa Applicants

Unlike some other visa categories, such as the H-1B or F-1 visas, the O-1 visa generally does not require an interview. USCIS officers review the submitted application materials, including the Form I-129, supporting documents, evidence of extraordinary ability, and the employment offer or itinerary.

Occasionally, USCIS may request additional evidence or clarification through a Request for Evidence (RFE). In such cases, the applicant is given an opportunity to respond and provide the necessary information to support their visa application. However, this response is typically in the form of a written submission and does not involve an interview.

Consular Interview for O-1 Visa Stamp

While an interview is not typically part of the USCIS adjudication process for the O-1 visa, individuals who are outside the United States and require an O-1 visa stamp in their passport will need to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This interview is conducted by a consular officer and is separate from the USCIS application process.

During the consular interview, applicants are typically asked questions about their background, purpose of travel, and the O-1 visa application. The consular officer may also review the supporting documents and ask for additional information if needed. It is important for applicants to be prepared, have all necessary documents in order, and be ready to address any inquiries related to their extraordinary abilities and employment in the United States.

Preparation and Documentation:

Even though an interview may not be required for the O-1 visa application submitted to USCIS, it is crucial to thoroughly prepare the application materials and provide accurate and comprehensive documentation. This includes gathering evidence of extraordinary ability, expert opinions, employment offer or itinerary, and any other supporting materials required by USCIS.

It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney who specializes in O-1 visas to ensure that all necessary documents are included and that the application presents a strong case for approval. By carefully preparing the application and providing compelling evidence, applicants can increase their chances of a successful outcome without the need for an interview.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

While an interview is generally not required as part of the O-1 visa application process, it is essential to meticulously prepare and submit all required documentation to support the application. Applicants should be aware that if they are outside the United States and require an O-1 visa stamp, they will need to attend a consular interview. By understanding the process, seeking professional guidance, and ensuring a comprehensive application, individuals can navigate the O-1 visa journey with confidence and increase their chances of a successful outcome.

What are the Chances of O-1 Visa Approval?

What are the Chances of O-1 Visa Approval? Overview

What are the chances of O-1 visa approval? This article is about answering this mind-boggling question. The O-1 visa, also known as the “extraordinary ability visa,” offers a pathway for individuals with exceptional skills and achievements to work legally in the United States. However, the journey towards O-1 visa approval can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of the requirements and evaluation criteria.

Understanding the Evaluation Criteria

To assess an applicant’s eligibility for the O-1 visa, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates the evidence of extraordinary ability in specific fields. While the criteria may vary depending on the field, some key factors that contribute to O-1 visa approval include:

  1. Extraordinary Ability: O-1 beneficiaries must provide substantial evidence of exceptional skill and achievement in their respective fields. This can be demonstrated through national or international awards, critical acclaim, publications, membership in prestigious organizations, serving as a judge in a competition, or high salary in relation to others in the field.
  2. Expert Opinions: USCIS considers testimonials from experts, authorities, or industry peers attesting to the applicant’s extraordinary ability. These testimonies provide an external validation of the applicant’s expertise and contributions to the field.

3. Specific Field Criteria: Each field has its own requirements for demonstrating extraordinary ability. For example, individuals in the arts may need to provide evidence of significant recognition or achievements in their artistic discipline, while those in sciences may need to showcase groundbreaking research or contributions to their field.

4. Job Offer and Itinerary: O-1 beneficiaries must provide a job offer or an itinerary of planned employment in the United States. This includes details of the project, duration, and the applicant’s critical role in the endeavor.

Factors Influencing Approval Chances

While meeting the eligibility criteria is essential, several factors can influence the chances of O-1 visa approval:

  1. Documentation and Preparation: Thoroughly gathering and organizing the required evidence and supporting documents is crucial. A comprehensive application that meets USCIS standards and addresses all necessary criteria can enhance the chances of approval.
  2. Legal Representation: Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in O-1 visas can significantly increase the chances of success. An attorney can provide expertise in navigating the application process, ensuring compliance with USCIS requirements, and strengthening the case.
  3. Field of Expertise: The level of competition and the industry’s demand for extraordinary talent in a specific field can impact approval chances. Fields with higher demand or limited availability of talent may have higher approval rates.
  4. Evidence Quality: The strength and quality of the evidence presented play a crucial role. Compelling, well-documented evidence that highlights the applicant’s achievements, recognition, and contributions to their field can bolster the chances of approval.
  5. No Visa Cap: Unlike other visa categories, like the H-1B, there is no cap on O-1 visas and there is no labor certification requirement. As long as an O-1 beneficiary meets the criteria and all passes security clearance, he or she should be approved.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help?

Reading about “what are the chances of O-1 visa approval” on the internet, is the first step in the application process. The second step is to ensure that you are truly eligible for O-1 visa. An experienced immigration attorney can assist greatly with this evaluation. Hiring an attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes, which delay processing times and may lead to a denial. Attorney, Cheryl Fletcher has been highly successful with O-1 visas and has achieved hundreds of O-1 visa approvals.

If you would like to speak with her, feel free to contact us by phone at 561-507-5772 or use the booking button below to schedule a personal meeting.

What Are the Current O-1 Processing Times?

What are the Current O-1 Processing Times? Overview

“What are the current O-1 processing times?” is an important question that O-1 employers, agents and beneficiaries should consider when deciding whether an O-1 visa is the right choice. Understanding the processing times associated with the O-1 visa is crucial for planning and managing expectations.

General Timeline for O-1 Visa Processing

While individual cases may vary, understanding the general timeline for O-1 visa processing can provide a helpful guideline. The typical steps and estimated processing times are as follows:

  1. Case Preparation: Gathering necessary documentation and evidence can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of supporting materials.
  2. Regular USCIS Processing: Once the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and supporting documentation is submitted to USCIS, the processing time can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) workload. Compared to other visas, the wait time for the O-1 visa is relatively short. On average it takes less than 3 months for regular processing.
  3. Premium Processing: For a more certain processing time, USCIS has created a premium processing option. The petitioner may elect this option, using form I-907, at the time of filing the application, or later while the application is pending. The premium processing fee is $2,500, which should be added to the $460, I-129 petition filing fee. USCIS guarantees a response within 15 calendar days from the date the premium processing request is received. USCIS could either: a) issue an approval notice;b) issue a denial notice; c) issue a notice of intent to deny; d) issue a request for evidence; or e) open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation. USCIS may take the same action during regular processing but it would happen much later.
  4. Potential Request For Evidence: If USCIS determines that additional evidence or information is required, it will issue a Request For Evidence (“RFE”). An RFE gives you more time to provide additional evidence. USCIS will likely not be working on you case while an RFE is pending. You can speed up processing by filing a solid application, initially, to avoid receiving an RFE or you can respond to the RFE quickly so that USCIS can resume evaluating your case. Hiring a qualified immigration attorney to prepare and file the application, on your behalf, may help you avoid a RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOID)”. When USCIS issues an RFE or a NOID it typically adds a few weeks to the overall processing time.
  5. Consular Processing (if applicable): After USCIS approves the I-129 petition if the O-1 beneficiary is outside the United States, he or she will need to pay a visa application fee and schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The scheduling and processing timeframes can vary by location. Some U.S. embassies or consulates have short wait times and the next available appoint may only be a few days away.
  6. Change of Status (if applicable): If the O-1 beneficiary is in the United States and is in lawful status (absent extraordinary circumstances), he or she may request a change of status. There are significant backlogs regarding a change of status and it may take a few months or years for USCIS to approve the request. It is important to note that an O-1 beneficiary cannot beginning working in O-1 status until after the change of status application has been approved. It may be faster to travel to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy to gain an O-1 visa stamp.

Factors Influencing O-1 Processing Times

Several factors contribute to the processing times of O-1 visa applications. These can vary depending on the workload of (USCIS) and the complexity of individual cases. Key factors to consider include:

  1. Hiring an Immigration Attorney: A qualified immigration attorney is a valuable resource to speed up the processing of an O-1 visa petition. This is because an attorney will know the legal requirements and the documents that are necessary to prove the case.
  2. USCIS’ Workload: The volume of applications received by the USCIS can impact processing times. High application numbers or other external factors may result in longer processing times. Each year, USCIS receives approximately 21,000, I-129 petitions, in the O-1 category.
  3. Completeness and Accuracy of the Petition: Ensuring that all required documents and evidence are properly prepared and submitted can help prevent delays due to USCIS requests for additional information.
  4. Request for Evidence: In some cases, USCIS may issue an RFE seeking further clarification or evidence to support the O-1 visa application. Responding to an RFE promptly and effectively is crucial to avoid further delays.
  5. Consular Processing: If you are requesting an O-1 visa stamp through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, this requires additional processing time. You may have to prepare for an overseas trip, and encounter flight delays.

Tips for Faster O-1 Visa Processing

To streamline the O-1 visa processing journey, consider the following tips:

  1. Begin Early: Start the application process well in advance to allow ample time for gathering supporting documents and preparing a strong case. The I-129 petition cannot be filed more than one year before the employment start date but should be filed at least 45 days before employment begins.
  2. Engage an Immigration Attorney: Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that the application is thorough, accurate, and meets the USCIS requirements.
  3. Premium Processing: If time is of the essence, consider utilizing the USCIS premium processing service to expedite the review.
  4. Stay Organized: Keep all application materials, correspondence, and important documents organized and readily accessible for efficient response to any USCIS requests or inquiries.
  5. Regularly Check USCIS Updates: Stay informed about USCIS processing times and any changes or updates that may affect your application.

What to do While You Wait?

The O-1 visa process an be a “marathon” rather than a “sprint” and even the most patient individual can be weighed down by the process. However, rather than passively waiting for your O-1 visa, you can utilize this time effectively by engaging in various activities that may enhance your skills, expand your network.

Enhance Your Skills: While waiting for your O-1 visa, consider investing your time in enhancing your skills and knowledge. Identify areas of your expertise that could benefit from further development or improvement. Take online courses, attend workshops, or enroll in relevant training programs that will help you sharpen your skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your field. Demonstrating ongoing professional development can only strengthen your O-1 visa application.

Network and Build Connections: Building a strong professional network is crucial for success in any industry. Use the waiting period to expand your network by attending industry events, conferences, and seminars. Engage with professionals in your field, seek mentorship, and establish meaningful connections. Join relevant online communities or professional networking platforms to interact with like-minded individuals and gain insights into your industry.

Volunteer or Freelance: Consider utilizing your skills and expertise by volunteering for projects or freelancing while you wait for your O-1 visa. Volunteering can help you gain valuable experience, build your portfolio, and contribute to the community. It also showcases your dedication and passion for your field, which can be advantageous when presenting your case for the O-1 visa. Engaging in freelance work allows you to continue working on projects, maintain professional relevance, and generate income.

Personal Projects: Consider undertaking personal projects related to your field of expertise. This could involve writing a research paper, creating a portfolio website, developing a mobile app, or working on a personal blog. These projects not only showcase your skills and passion but also demonstrate your commitment to advancing your career. Personal projects can serve as tangible evidence of your extraordinary abilities, reinforcing your O-1 visa application.

Stay Informed: Stay updated with the latest news and developments in your industry. Follow industry-specific publications, subscribe to relevant newsletters, and join professional forums. Keeping yourself informed about emerging trends, technological advancements, and industry challenges will help you stay ahead of the curve. Demonstrating a deep understanding of your field during your O-1 visa application process can contribute positively to your case.

Visit Family and Friends: The O-1 visa may be granted for up to three years. Depending of the employment agreement between you and your employer, you could be away from your home country for a few years. Although an O-1 visa allows for international travel and multiple trips to the U.S. you may not have much vacation time when you begin working in the U.S. Take the time to visit family and friends and enjoy some of life’s finer moments, while you wait.

How an Immigration Attorney can Help?

If USCIS issued a Request for Evidence, a denial notice or opens a fraud/misrepresentation action, the services of an attorney are critical at this point. A qualified immigration attorney can make the difference in whether your case is approved or denied.

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been practicing immigration law since 2015. We have helped hundreds of applicants in the O-1 visa process get approved for an O-1 visa. If you would like to speak with me for 30-minutes regarding your case, please give us a call at 561-507-5772 or use the button below to book a consultation.

Reach out to us. You’d be glad you did.

How long can I stay in the US with an O-1 visa?

How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. on an O-1 Visa?

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an O-1 Visa? is a question that is popular among our potential clients. The best answer is,”it depends.” An O-1 visa is for persons of “extraordinary ability” in business, science, education, the arts or athletics and or for those who have “extraordinary achievement” in motion picture and or the television industry. Initially, this visa can be granted for a maximum of three years and extended one-year at a time, as long as the O-1 beneficiary meets certain requirements.

Initial Visa Approval

Initially, the visa is granted for up to three years. This is typical for longtterm employment positions. For shorter work opportunities, it is likely that the visa could be granted for less time. You cannot request a certain duration. This is dependent on the immigration officer reviewing your case.

Visa Renewal

There is no limit on the amount of times that an O-1 beneficiary can renew a visa.

How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor an O-1 Visa?

How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor an O-1 Visa?- Overview

How much does it cost to sponsor an O-1 visa? is the second most important question that people ask themselves when they start their research. The most important question is about eligibility and qualification. The costs for an O-1 visa are not due all at once and are paid to different U.S. government agencies.

Employer Petition and Filing Fees

To begin the petition process, the U.S. employer or U.S. agent must first identify a candidate who meets the definition of “extraordinary ability.” An O-1 beneficiary who has risen to the very top of his or field in the sciences, education, business, the arts, athletics, motion picture/TV production is eligible for an O-1 visa. Once the terms of employment are agreed upon between the employer or U.S. agent and the O-1 beneficiary, the employer may begin the petition process.

Regular Processing: The filing fee for the I-129 Petition for Nonimmgrant Worker is $460. This is paid at the time of filing the petition. It may be paid with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check or by credit card using form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. The $460 fee covers regular processing. The wait time for regular processing for an O-1 visa is relatively short, compared to other visa categories. It takes about two months, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) current processing times. This fee is paid by the employer.

Premium Processing: Current processing time changes each month according to the volume of cases that USCIS receives. Sometimes, it may take longer than two months to receive a decision. This can be detrimental to your business if you are trying to fill a vacancy quickly. The government offers “premium processing” to cut the wait time. In addition to the $460 filing fee, if you pay for “premium processing” USCIS promises to make a decision on your application within 15 calendar days. If USCIS cannot process your application within 15 days, it will refund the premium processing fee and process your application regularly. The premium processing fee for a O-1 petition is $2,500. You may request premium processing at the time of filing the I-129 petition or later, while the application is pending. You submit your request by using form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. This fee may be paid by the employer or the O-1 beneficiary.

Visa Application Fee: If USCIS approves the O-1 petition, the O-1 beneficiary is eligible to apply for change of status if he or she is in the U.S. or consular processing if he or she is abroad. For a change of status, the O-1 beneficiary will not incur a visa application fee. If the O-1 beneficiary is outside the U.S. he or she must complete a DS-160 visa application, online and pay $190. The fee is paid to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where the O-1 beneficiary intends to apply for a visa. This fee may be paid by the employer or the O-1 beneficiary.

Attorney’s Fees: A qualified immigration attorney may improve your chances of getting approved for an O-1 visa. Attorney’s fees start at $3,500 for this service. This includes providing legal advice, filing the petition, responding to any requests for evidence, filing the visa application, preparing the O-1 beneficiary for the interview and providing case updates.

How a Qualified Immigration Attorney Can Help

After reading this article you should have gained a basic understanding of the fees involved in applying for a O-1 visa. This is good information but it is not legal advice. Immigration law is highly complex and a qualified immigration attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes. Attorney Fletcher has helped hundreds of O-1 beneficiaries get approved for a O-1 visa.

Cheryl Fletcher Immigration Attorney

Attorney, Cheryl Fletcher

Does O-1 Visa Need Sponsorship?

Does O-1 Visa Need Sponsorship?: Overview

Does O-1 visa need sponsorship? This is one of the most are frequently asked questions by employers, agents, entrepreneurs, professionals and artists who are considering whether an O-1 visa is the right choice. Unlike other visa categories where a self-petition is possible, an O-1 visa requires sponsorship from a U.S. employer or a U.S. agent. A U.S. agent can file petitions for American or foreign employers or O-1 beneficiaries, who are self-employed.

O-1 Visa Sponsorship Requirements- Employer

An employer with a registered business in the U.S. can sponsor an O-1 beneficiary for a visa. The business may be registered as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a limited liability company, in any of the fifty states. The business must have a valid employer identification number. There is no requirement on how long a business should exist in order to be able to sponsor an O-1 beneficiary. However, the business should have strong financials to be able to maintain its operations and pay the O-1 beneficiary. Typically, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), does not require bank statements and tax returns for the business, however if it is questionable whether the business is legitimate or can afford to pay the O-1 beneficiary, USCIS may request these documents.

When filing the I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, the employer should include evidence of the compensation arrangement between the business and the O-1 beneficiary. This is usually a written contract. However, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement, under which the O-1 beneficiary will be employed, may be sufficient.

The employer should also include an explanation of the nature of event or activities, the beginning and ending dates and a copy of the itinerary. Since the O-1 visa covers a wide range of professionals, this explanation will vary. For example, a sports coach of “extraordinary ability” who is seeking to enter the U.S. to work at a local gym may have a 3-year employment contract. In comparison, a musician who is entering the U.S. on a tour, may be stopping in multiple cities and may have an itinerary stating the dates he or she will be in each city.

O-1 Visa Sponsorship Requirements- Agent

A U.S. agent who would like to petition for an O-1 beneficiary must be “in the business” of being an agent. The agent cannot just be another employer for which the O-1 beneficiary is performing. The agent can be the O-1 beneficiary’s employer or may be filing the petition on behalf of a foreign or U.S. employer. If the agent is the actual employer, to prove that he or she is “in the business” of being an agent, he or she should submit evidence such as the business registration certificate, agency representation contracts and fee arrangements.

If the agent is acting on behalf of an employer, a power of attorney, or affidavits from other employers regarding the agent’s representation of the employers and the beneficiary can serve as evidence that the agent is “in the business” and is authorized to file the I-129 petition on behalf of the employer.

If the O-1 beneficiary intends to work for multiple employers, an agent can file this petition only if: (1) the supporting documentation includes a complete itinerary of the events; (2) the itinerary specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the names and addresses of the actual employers, and the names and addresses of performance venues; the contracts between each employer and the beneficiary; and (4) the agent includes documentation, explaining the terms and conditions of the employment .

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

Since 2015, Attorney Cheryl Fletcher, has been assisting employers, agents, and O-1 beneficiaries with their American dreams. After reading this article, you should have gained a basic understanding of the sponsorship requirements for an O-1 visa. However, immigration law is complex and a qualified immigration attorney can greatly improve your chances of qualifying for this visa.

If you have questions about O-1 visa eligibility and the process in general, please book a consultation online, contact us by phone: 561-507-5772, or send us a email at [email protected]. We’d be glad to assist.

Cheryl Fletcher Immigration Attorney

Attorney, Cheryl Fletcher

Best Way to Hire Employees? Attract O-1 Visa Workers

Best Way to Hire Employees: Overview

The best way to hire employees is one of the top concerns for human resource managers, who must attract and retain talented employees. Whether you run a small business or a fortune 500 company, the concern is the same. Focusing only on workers, located in the United States is not the best way to hire employees; you must focus on the global workforce.

Best Way to Hire Employees

Attracting and Retaining Talented Employees

In 1990, the U.S. Congress created a special category of visas to attract the top 1% of talented employees, in the world, enter the United States and fill positions. This special visa is called the O-1 visa and is touted as the “genius visa.” These are highly sought after individuals, who have risen to the very top of their field in business, science, education, athletics, the arts, motion picture or television. You know they are at the top because they must have won a prestigious international or national award. Each year over 10,000 visas are issued to this talented group, from various countries, ethnicities and cultures. If you would like to attract and retain these O-1 employees, you should target them in the hiring process.

When posting a job online on websites such as Indeed, include the term “visa sponsorship available” in the advertisement. This way O-1 visa workers know that you welcome their application.

Visa Sponsorship for O-1 Visa Workers

O-1 Visa Requirements: How to Qualify?

O-1 Visa Requirements: Overview

O-1 visa requirements are fairly straightforward but can be difficult to prove without a thorough understanding of this visa category. There are two categories of O-1 visas: O-1A and O-1B. The O-1A is for persons of “extraordinary ability” in business, science, education, or athletics, while the O-1B is for those who have “extraordinary ability” in the arts or “extraordinary achievement” in motion picture and or the television industry. An O-1 visa may be granted for an employment position, a single event or a series of events. Examples of eligible events include, a scientific project, conference, convention, lecture series, tour, exhibit, business project, an academic year, or engagement. Both the O-1A and O-1B visa sub-categories allow visas for support staff and family. The O-2 visa is for accompanying staff, which is integral to the O-1 visa holders’ performance, while the O-3 visa is for dependent spouse and children.

O-1 Visa Requirements Picture

“Extraordinary Ability” Visa: What does this mean?

“Extraordinary ability” in terms of a O-1 visa, means that the beneficiary is “one of the very small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” This applies to the field of science, education, business, or athletics. Executives, scientists, athletes, physicians, entrepreneurs, and former athletes who have transitioned to coaching are examples of occupations that may be eligible for an O-1A visa. To prove O-1A eligibility, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) requires either a major internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, Olympic medal or Laureus World Sports Award. If the beneficiary does not have any of these awards or awards of similar prestige he or she must have received a less-known nationally or internationally recognized award and must have continuously contributed to his or her field. The petitioner must submit evidence from at least two of the categories below, to prove “contribution to the field:”


1. Proof of membership in an exclusive organization in your field;

2. Participation on a panel or individually as a judge in your field;

3. Mentions of your published material in trade publications;

4. Written scholarly articles in your field in professional journals or other major media;

5. Evidence that you command a high salary; and

6. Evidence that you have held critical positions for esteemed organizations in your field.

“Extraordinary ability” for an O-1B visa in the arts means “distinction.” Distinction is “a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered.” Examples of occupations that may qualify include actors, musicians, fashion designers, set designers, lighting designers, sound designers, choreographers, choreologists, conductors, orchestrators, coaches, arrangers, musical supervisors, costume designers, makeup artists, flight masters, stage technicians, and animal trainers. For an O-1B visa in motion picture or TV production, the applicant must have a “demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement.” Film producers and directors are two examples of occupations in this field. There may be an overlap between the arts and motion picture/TV production and some occupations may be suitable for both fields. For an O-1B visa in the arts, motion picture or TV production, the applicant must either be nominated for or be the recipient of a significant international or national award or prize, such as the Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Academy Award, Emmy or Director’s Guild Award OR have at least three of the following:

1. Lead in a production of distinguished reputation;

2. Critical reviews in major newspapers or trade journals;

3. Lead for an organization that has a distinguished reputation;

4. Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;

5. Significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies or other experts in the field; or

6. Has or will command a high salary.

All “O” categories need an advisory opinion from a consultative organization, such as a peer group, labor organization, and or management organization. The consultation letter should describe the O-1A or O-1B’s achievements. If there is no appropriate union, the consultation may be waived.

O-1 Visa Employer Requirements

O-1 visa employer requirements are stated in the Immigration and Nationality Act and must be met for an O-1 petition to be approved. An O-1 applicant cannot petition for himself or herself. A U.S employer or U.S. agent, must file the I-129 petition for an O-1 visa. U.S. agents file applications on behalf of American and foreign employers and O-1 beneficiaries who are self-employed.

The employer must be a legal entity with a valid employer identification number. A petitioner-agent must be “in the business” of being an agent. Evidence of this includes, fee arrangements, affidavits from other employers and beneficiaries who were represented by the agent, and agency contracts.

As evidence, the employer should submit written contracts between the petitioner and the beneficiary or, if there is no written contract, a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed. The employer should also include an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates and a copy of any itinerary.

The employer cannot file more than one year before work starts but should file at a minimum 45 days before employment. An O-1 beneficiary may work at multiple locations and with multiple employers. An O-1 visa is granted for three years or less and O-1 extensions are granted in 1-year increments for the same event. The beneficiary may be admitted 10 days before and 10 days after the validity of the visa but cannot work during this time. There is no limit on the number of years that person may spend in O-1 status.

O-1 Visa Requirements Board Meeting

O-1 Visa Dual Intent and Change of Status

An O-1 visa beneficiary may have dual intent. He or she is not required to maintain a foreign home residence, while in the U.S. An O-1 beneficiary who is in the U.S. in a different visa category may submit a change of status or can undergo consular processing, once the I-129 petition is approved. Dual intent allows the O-1 beneficiary to complete a green card process while in O-1 status. If the green card petition is denied, however, the O-1 beneficiary will have to leave the United States at the conclusion or termination of O-1 status.

O-1 Visa to Green Card: EB-1 and EB-2 Options

O-1 visa to green card is the goal of many O-1 beneficiaries. There are three types of immigrant visas that are suitable for this purpose. The EB-1A green card is reserved for applicants of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. It does not require labor certification or evidence of an offer of employment. The criteria is similar to that of the O-1A but qualification is not automatic. Some O-1 to EB-1A and some petitions are denied, so it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney to minimize the risk of this happening.

O-1 Visa Requirements Green Gard

The EB-1B green card is reserved for outstanding researchers and professors. Like the EB-1A, there is no labor certification requirement but an offer of employment is required. The EB-1B beneficiary must be recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field and have three (3) years experience in teaching or research, in the specific academic area. The beneficiary must be entering the U.S. for a tenured teaching position or tenure track at a university or institution of higher education, a tertiary level research position, or a comparable research position with a private employer. If the category is current, the petitioner may file an adjustment of status application along with the I-140 petition.

The EB-2 national interest waiver green card suits professionals with an advanced degree or who has exceptional ability, in the sciences, arts or business. and will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, culture or educational interests. The “art” category includes athletes and entertainers. A masters degree or higher is an advanced degree, while a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive experience in the field is the education and work experience equivalent. The applicant must have a job offer. Labor certification is not required.

O-2 Visa Requirements/ Eligibility: Support Staff

O-2 visa requirements have some similarities with the O-1. Both visas require a consultation letter from the appropriate organization that describe the beneficiary’s skill and experience. The O-2 visa is for persons who would like to accompany or assist an O-1 artist or athlete. There is no O-2 visa for accompanying staff in the fields of business, education, or science. The O-2 beneficiary should possess skills and essentiality to the O-1 beneficiary and must have prior experience working with the O-1. For motion picture or television productions, there must be a pre-existing, longstanding relationship.

An O-2 must be integral to the actual performance, has critical skills that cannot be performed by other individuals and has a foreign residence that he or she does not plan to abandon. The O-2, applicant cannot have dual intent. For O-2’s accompanying O-1s in motion picture and television, an applicant should provide evidence that significant work production has taken place outside the US and that the O-2’s participation is critical to the success of the production.

O-2’s work status and work authorization may be granted for the full duration of the O-1’s status.

O-3 Visa Requirement: Spouse and Unmarried Children

O-3 visas are for minor unmarried children, under 21 years old and the spouse of a O-1 beneficiary. They may accompany the O-1 beneficiary or follow to join, within 1-year of the O-1 obtaining his or her visa. An O-3 dependent may not accept employment in the United States but may attend school.

O-1 Visa Costs: Attorney’s Fees and Costs

O-1 visa costs can be divided into the following categories: I-129 petition fees, visa fees and attorney’s fees. The I-129 petition costs $460, with regular processing. It takes approximately three (3) months to process but this time can be shortened to 15 days if the petitioner requests premium processing and pays an additional $2,500. If the petition is approved, the applicant pays a $160 visa application fee to the Department of State. Attorney’s fees, for an experienced immigration attorney to assist with the process, begin at $3,500.

Who Wrote this Article?

My name is Cheryl Fletcher. I am a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Fletcher Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and United States citizenship.

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the O-1 visa requirements, the basics of qualifying for an O-1 visa and how long the process should take. If you would like a personal analysis of your situation, please feel free to contact us at 561-507-5772 or send us an email at: [email protected].

Cheryl Fletcher Immigration Attorney

Green Card then Divorce: What Happens to Immigration Status?

“Green Card then Divorce?” What now? Getting a divorce after receiving a green card causes unexpected challenges. On top of the emotional trauma that a divorce causes, you also have to worry about whether you will lose the green card and be deported to your home country. If you were in a bona fide (“real”) marriage, a divorce will have little effect on your immigration status. US immigration law anticipates that not all marriages will last for a lifetime and has created rules for this situation.

Divorce After Conditional Green Card

Marriage ending in a divorce, after a conditional green card is issued, is a very common occurrence. You obtained a 2-year conditional green card because your marriage was less than two years old at the time that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the overseas US consulate approved your green card application, With this type of green card, you are required to file an I-751 application to remove the conditions, to obtain permanent residence. This must be done within 90 days of expiration of the 2-year conditional green card.

If your marriage starts to breakdown before it is time to file the I-751 application one of two possibilities may occur. Either your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse may refuse to sign the application or he or she may sign it. If your spouse signs the application, you will have a jointly filed application. You must submit the application with proof that you were in a real marriage. Evidence includes joint bank statements, utility bills, income tax returns, joint proof of residence, photographs of you and your spouse and affidavits from relatives and friends who can testify that your marriage was real, from the outset.

If your spouse refuses to sign the application, you cannot force him or her. You must still file the application and request a waiver of the joint filing requirement. Include the evidence mentioned above along with a copy of the divorce judgment. If the divorce has already been filed, but not finalized, include a copy of the divorce petition. The divorce will need to be finalized by the time USCIS makes a decision on the application.

A third scenario may occur after you have filed an I-751 application, jointly. Your spouse may decide that he or she wants to withdraw the application and may even send a letter to USCIS stating that decision. If that occurs, make a request to USCIS that you would like to convert your application from “jointly filed” to “divorce waiver.” Include a copy of the divorce petition. If the divorce has been finalized, then submit a copy of the divorce judgment. Even if your spouse later changes his or her mind, once the divorce has been finalized, your application will still need a waiver. In some cases, the divorce is amicable and your ex-spouse wants to support you throughout the immigration process. He or she may submit an affidavit to USCIS stating that the marriage was real, even though it ended and may even attend the interview with you, as a sign of support. Although the I-751 green card application can be approved without an interview, there is a very high chance that it will not. USCIS is concerned about fraudulent marriages and when a divorce occurs, this usually raises a red flag.

If you move from the marital home while the I-751 application is pending, update your address with USCIS within 10 days of moving. Failure to do so could result in you missing important updates about your case. It is also a misdemeanor that can be punished by a fine of up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. You could also be deported, unless you can prove that that the failure to report a change of address was “reasonably excusable,” or that the failure was not “willful.” While this is the law, in reality, it is rarely enforced as the government does not have enough resources to prosecute these minor offenses.

If you submitted a strong I-751 application, you should have little trouble proving that the marriage was real. Weak applications can cause serious problems. An experienced immigration attorney is valuable in either scenario and can make the difference between whether your application is approved or denied. You should be well prepared for your interview to give yourself the best chance of obtaining a 10-year permanent residence green card.

Divorce After 10 Year Green Card

Getting a divorce, after a 10 year green card has been approved, is a little less problematic. You do not need to notify USCIS that your marriage has ended in a divorce, even when renewing the green card but you must do so if you are applying for U.S. citizenship. You must however notify USCIS of any change of address, as stated above. Although it is possible that USCIS can reevaluate whether your marriage was real when you apply for a green card renewal, this is highly unlikely.

green card divorce

The more important question is: “How does a divorce affect your application for U.S. citizenship?” A permanent resident is eligible for U.S. citizenship either 3 years or 5 years after first obtaining a green card. If the marriage is intact and both spouses are living together, the green card holder is eligible for naturalization in 3 years. If there is a divorce, then eligibility is in 5 years. You must submit all your divorce decrees with your U.S. citizenship application.

U.S. Immigration Attorney Fees

This article provides a broad overview of “divorce with a green card” and its effect on your immigration status. U.S. immigration law is complex and is not limited to the forms on USCIS’ website. An experienced immigration attorney can tailor your case to the specifics of the law, focusing on the Immigration and Nationality Act, other statutes and relevant case law. The attorney’s fees for this service are invaluable. An attorney can prevent costly mistakes, save you unnecessary headaches and relieve uncertainty concerning the immigration process.

Attorney, Cheryl Fletcher, is a U.S. immigration attorney that has been through the immigration process, herself. She practices regularly at USCIS and has helped hundreds of applicants who have experienced a divorce after obtaining a green card.

Immigration attorney, Cheryl Fletcher

Investor Visa USA Requirements- E-1/E-2

“Investor visa USA requirements” is a popular search phrase on the internet as prospective investors worldwide try to decide if an investor visa is right for him or her. While the idea is still in it’s infancy, the prospective investor usually focuses on how much money he or she will need to invest in the business to have a good chance of the business succeeding and also being approved for the E-1 or E-2 visa.  The good news for E-1 and E-2 visa applicants is that there is no minimum investment requirement. Unlike the EB-5 green card investor program which requires a minimum investment of $500,000, there is no such requirement for the E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant investor visas.

Investor Visa USA Requirements

E-1/E-2 Investor Visa USA Requirements/Eligibility

The E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant visa program allow foreign nationals from treaty countries to enter the U.S.  to set up businesses and or engage in substantial international trade, which is beneficial to both countries.

Proof of Nationality

The foreign national investor or trader must prove that he or she is a member of a treaty country. Evidence of this includes a birth certificate, citizenship certificate or a photocopy of a passport. The applicant is still eligible even if he or she has not resided in the treaty country for quite sometime. The nationality of the business is determined by the nationality of the individual owners of that business.

Ownership Documents

The E-1 or E-2 applicant must show that he or she owns at least 50 percent of the business, when the investor is an organization and the applicant is an employee. For example, if the business is organized as a corporation and it has 3 officers, the E-1 or E-2 applicant must own at least 50 percent of the shares and the remaining 50 percent of shares can be divided between the other two officers, who are not applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa. If the business is a sole proprietorship, it has just one owner, who owns 100 percent of the business.  Shares/stock certificates or partnership/joint venture agreements are some of the documents that can be submitted to show ownership.

Trade or Investment

E-1 Visas

E-1 visas are for traders; while E-2 visas are for investors. E-1 visa applicants must show that they are engaged in traceable or identifiable exchange of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country. The trade relationship must be in existence between the two countries before applying for an E-1 visa. Trade must be substantial, meaning that there is a continuous flow of goods and services overtime. A single transaction, regardless of size is insufficient.

Although the E-1 visa applicant may engage in trade with other countries, more than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the U.S. and the treaty country. The applicant may submit bills of lading, customer receipts, letters of credit, insurance papers, purchase orders, carrier inventories and sales contracts, as evidence that he or she is engaged in substantial international trade with the U.S.

E-2 Visas

Whereas the E-1 visa requires a pre-existing trading relationship between the U.S. and the treaty country; the E-2 visa allows the applicant to search for a new business opportunity in the U.S. E-1 classification does not allow startups but E-2 does.

The E-2 applicant must have invested or be actively in the process of investing in a commercial enterprise. Passive investment is not allowed. Non-profit institutions are not commercial enterprises. Also, idle or speculative investments held for potential appreciation, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor without the intent to direct the enterprise are ineligible.

The funds must be “at risk.” This means that the capital must be subject to total loss if investment fortunes reverse. Eligible funds must be the investor’s unsecured personal business capital or capital secured by personal assets. Funds may come from savings, gifts, inheritance, contest winnings or loans collateralized by the applicant’s personal assets and the funds cannot be obtained through criminal activity. Uncommitted funds held in a bank account is insufficient. The funds may be placed in an escrow account, with legal ramifications, pending approval of the E-2 visa, in case  the investor tries to change his or her mind during the process.

There is no bright line rule to answer the question: “how much money do you need for an investor visa.” The investment must be “substantial” and must pass the “proportionality test.” The amount of money will vary, according to the type of business. The business cannot be marginal A marginal business is one that earns a living solely for the investor and his family and does not have present or future capacity for growth.

The proportionality test takes into account:

  • the amount of funds invested versus the total cost of purchasing or creating the business;
  • the amount normally considered sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise; and
  • the size of the investment to support the likelihood that the investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.

The lower the cost of the the business, the higher the investment should be to be considered substantial.

Management and Employees

Both E-1 and  E-2 visa applicants must manage the business and not compete directly in the U.S. market as a skilled laborer. He or she should have a controlling interest in the business.

Employees of E1 or E2 visa holders must have the same nationality as the treaty employer and must be either executives and supervisors or nonsupervisory persons with special qualifications who are essential to the business.

Investor Visas Attorney E-1/E-2

Cheryl Fletcher is an immigration attorney who assists foreign investors with their visa applications. If you meet the investor visa USA requirements, she will complete the application form and compile a comprehensive application package to improve your chances of getting an E-1 or E-2 visa.  Please call  561-507-5772, email: [email protected], or contact us via or contact form.

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