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Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does it mean to have “extraordinary ability”?

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.

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means 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.

In the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Can I still qualify for a visa if I don’t have a signed contract yet?

USCIS will accept an oral contract, as evidenced by the summation of the elements of the oral agreement. Such evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the contractual parties, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence that demonstrates that an oral agreement was created.

The summary of the terms of the oral agreement must contain: 1.What was offered by the employer 2.What was accepted by the employee

The summary does not have to be signed by both parties to establish the oral agreement. However, it must document the terms of the employment offered and that the beneficiary has agreed to the offer.

Can I have my agent sponsor me for an O visa?

Yes, provided your agent can provide USCIS with a contractual agreement between you and your agent that specifies the wage offered and other terms and conditions of employment.

If you will be working in more than one location, the petition must also include an itinerary with the dates and locations of work. The itinerary should at a minimum indicate what type of work the beneficiary will be engaged, where, and when this work will take place.

Can I work for a different employer once I’m in the United States under O-1 status?

If you are an O-1 nonimmigrant in the United States and you want to change employers, then your new employer must file a Form I-129 with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions. If an agent filed the petition, an amended petition must be filed with evidence relating to the new employer and a request for an extension of stay.

What happens to my O visa status if my plans change once I’m in the United States or if I’m terminated?

If there has been any material change in the terms and conditions of the beneficiary’s employment or the beneficiary’s eligibility, the petitioner must file an amended petition on Form I-129 with the Service Center where the original petition was filed.

If the employment of an O nonimmigrant beneficiary is terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation, the employer must pay for the reasonable cost of your return transportation to the O nonimmigrant’s last place of residence before entering into the United States. If an agent filed the petition for the employer, the agent and the employer are equally responsible for paying these costs.

What is a Consultation Letter?

A consultation letter is a document that the applicant must provide as part of the O visa petition. This will generally consist of a written advisory opinion from a peer group related to their field of expertise, or from an individual selected by the peer group that also has expertise in the field. The advisory opinion may also come from labor organizations. In the case of applicants with expertise in the television or film industry the consultation may come from a labor union or other organization with expertise in the respective field

In some circumstances, the consultation requirement may be waived. Contact an attorney to find out whether your profession is eligible for a waiver.