ContractsCounsel Logo

O-1 Visa

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 9,865 reviews
No Upfront Payment Required, Pay Only If You Hire.

Jump to Section

What is an O-1 Visa?

An O-1 visa is a type of work visa that allows temporary workers with extraordinary ability to legally reside in the United States while they perform their skills. This type of visa is unique because it is reserved exclusively for people who are gifted in fields such as sciences, education, business, or athletics. It is also for individuals who have extraordinary ability in the arts. Non-resident applicants must prove their abilities in their field in order to acquire an O-1 visa.

Who Can Get an O-1 Visa?

Only certain individuals who have displayed an extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics are eligible to receive an O-1 temporary worker visa. In order for their application to be accepted, they must verify their eligibility with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services division (USCIS).

Applicants for the O-1 visa must show significant abilities in their fields versus the average person. They must also have a resume with prestigious accolades that sets them apart from the crowd. This helps to ensure that those that are granted the special visa contribute to the community of the United States in the most profound way possible.

Read more about O-1 visa requirements here.

Applying for an O-1 Visa

Applying for an O-1 visa can be a rigorous process. Gifted individuals must compile supporting information for their application to qualify for approval. While it is helpful to have a job from a company, self-employed individuals can also apply for an O-1 visa if they demonstrate they have a significant project for which they need to be in the United States. The application must be completed by a U.S. employer or agent within a year of needing the services of the non-resident worker and the USCIS fee for filing must be paid.

Application Requirements

A temporary worker can get an O-1 visa by verifying a minimum of three of the following requirements:

  • Receipt of national or international acclaims, such as an Olympic medal or other award for excellence
  • Acquiring membership to an association whose members are judged by national or internationally recognized judges
  • Have their work or talent featured in a high-profile publication or by the mainstream media
  • Serve as a judge for others in the field (individually or on a panel)
  • Make a significant contribution to their field (i.e., scientific accomplishments, scholarly accolades)
  • Write or publish scholarly articles (can be in recognized journals or major media)
  • Be or been an employee in a critical role of an organization with an outstanding reputation
  • Command a large salary or other outstanding remuneration for services provided
  • If requirements don’t apply to applicant’s application, applicant can request to submit comparable evidence that qualifies them for an O-1 visa.

The Consultation Process

Before an application can be approved, visa applicants must first receive a formal recommendation from a group of peers in the same profession as the applicant through a process called consultation. These peers decide whether the contributions of the applicant would make a significant impact upon the industry. They also further judge the eligibility of the applicant based on the information in the formal application.

Some industries may not have a peer group readily available to write recommendations. If this happens, United States Citizenship and Immigration division will attempt to locate one. If no such group exists, the division can move forward to making their decision without a recommendation.

Contract Requirements

In many cases, the services provided by an immigrant to an American employer are outlined in an employment contract. If such a contract exists, a copy of the document must be submitted along with the O-1 visa application. Any verbal agreements between an applicant and an employer must also be disclosed at the time of application.

Job Description

A full description of all job duties and functions for the temporary worker must accompany all O-1 visa applications. This description should also include any dates that the worker’s services will be used as well as a copy of any applicable itineraries during those dates. If an itinerary is submitted, qualifying documentation that proves such activities are necessary must also be included.

Read more about O-1 visa requirements here.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Zachary J.

301 projects on CC
View Profile

Elexius E.

8 projects on CC
View Profile

Benjamin W.

74 projects on CC
View Profile

Benjamin E.

98 projects on CC
View Profile

How Long are O-1 Visas Good for?

Temporary visas for extraordinarily talented workers, or O-1 visas, are granted for a period of up to three years from the date of approval. The visa can be extended in one-year increments indefinitely, so long as the petitioner can provide evidence that the extension is warranted. Workers are permitted to enter the country up to ten days before their validity period begins and they can remain for up to ten days after it ends. The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) is responsible for determining the length of time of a visa before expiration.

Determining the Validity Period of an O-1 Visa

When considering how long an O-1 visa will be good for, the USCIS looks at a few key factors of a temporary worker visa application. Whoever submits the temporary worker visa application is obligated to provide proof that the requested validity period for the proposed event or project is necessary.

A project or event for this purpose might be:

  • A speaker at a convention or other event
  • An advisor for a major project
  • A role in a major motion picture
  • A researcher in a prestigious scientific facility
  • A competition or game in a professional sport
  • A business summits

Here are a few examples of considerations of the USCIS for O-1 visas:

  • Length of project or event
  • Dates of events related to the project or event
  • Stopovers or short vacations encompassing the project or event

ContractsCounsel O-1 Visa Image

Image via Pexels by Darren

Extending an O-1 Visa

If an extraordinary worker is required at their position for longer than three years, an extension of the visa is necessary. O-1 visas can be extended for up to one year at a time and there is no limit on how many times a visa can be extended. As long as a petitioner can provide proof that an extension is warranted, visa validity periods can be extended indefinitely.

Family Status Applications

If an O-1 visa applicant wishes to travel along with their spouse and any children under the age of 21, an additional application for a visa called an O-3 nonimmigrant visa is necessary. This visa allows family members to reside legally in the country. It allows family members to study, but they cannot work.

For more a more in-depth look at the O-1 visa application process, check out this webpage.

O-1 Visas vs. H1-B Visas

O-1 visas and H1-B visas are similar in that they both allow gifted workers to legally reside in the United States temporarily while practicing their craft. However, they do not serve the same communities.

H1-B visas are best fitted for workers who are newer to their craft and may have difficulty fulfilling the rigorous requirements for O-1 visas. O-1 visas, on the other hand, are well-suited for those who are well-established in their roles and can provide a list of accolades for consideration to the United States Citizenship and Immigration division.

Read more about O-1 and H1-B visas here.

Get Help with an H-1B Visa

Are you ready to learn more about a H1-B and O-1 visas and want to get some advice from an expert? Post a project today on ContractsCounsel to get connected with immigration specialists who can help you on your path to getting a visa.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our O-1 Visa Lawyers

Jennifer W. on ContractsCounsel
View Jennifer
5.0 (3)
Member Since:
May 24, 2023

Jennifer W.

Immigration Attorney
Free Consultation
New York
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT
Quinnipiac University Law School

I am an Immigration attorney specializing in business, corporate, and family immigration. I have served the immigrant (EB1A/B/C, NIWs, and PERM) and non immigrant (H, L, O, TN, E) needs for individuals, families, start-up companies, and some of the largest financial and commercial companies. I have experience with adjustment of status and consular processing. Please let me know how I can serve your immigration needs.

Daehoon P. on ContractsCounsel
View Daehoon
4.8 (111)
Member Since:
November 26, 2021

Daehoon P.

Corporate Lawyer
Free Consultation
New York, NY
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
American University Washington College of Law

Advised startups and established corporations on a wide range of commercial and corporate matters, including VC funding, technology law, and M&A. Commercial and Corporate Matters • Advised companies on commercial and corporate matters and drafted corporate documents and commercial agreements—including but not limited to —Convertible Note, SAFE, Promissory Note, Terms and Conditions, SaaS Agreement, Employment Agreement, Contractor Agreement, Joint Venture Agreement, Stock Purchase Agreement, Asset Purchase Agreement, Shareholders Agreement, Partnership Agreement, Franchise Agreement, License Agreement, and Financing Agreement. • Drafted and revised internal regulations of joint venture companies (board of directors, employment, office organization, discretional duty, internal control, accounting, fund management, etc.) • Advised JVs on corporate structuring and other legal matters • Advised startups on VC funding Employment Matters • Drafted a wide range of employment agreements, including dental associate agreements, physician employment agreements, startup employment agreements, and executive employment agreements. • Advised clients on complex employment law matters and drafted employment agreements, dispute settlement agreements, and severance agreements. General Counsel • As outside general counsel, I advised startups on ICOs, securities law, business licenses, regulatory compliance, and other commercial and corporate matters. • Drafted or analyzed coin or token sale agreements for global ICOs. • Assisted clients with corporate formations, including filing incorporation documents and foreign corporation registrations, drafting operating and partnership agreements, and creating articles of incorporation and bylaws. Dispute Resolution • Conducted legal research, and document review, and drafted pleadings, motions, and other trial documents. • Advised the client on strategic approaches to discovery proceedings and settlement negotiation. • Advised clients on employment dispute settlements.

Harrison K. on ContractsCounsel
View Harrison
Member Since:
November 17, 2021

Harrison K.

Attorney and Executive
Free Consultation
Los Angeles
29 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, MD
California Western School of Law

Harrison Kordestani is an executive with over twenty-five years experience in entertainment and media, energy, technologies, and start-ups. Mr. Kordestani has also developed a specialized legal and strategic consulting practice representing select entertainment, oil and gas, mortgage lending, and technology start-up clientele. He is also deeply passionate about new technologies and has also actively worked in building companies in the video-on-demand, wearable tech, information of things, demand prediction and app-marketing spaces. As an attorney, Mr. Kordestani's focus has been on transactional drafting and negotiation and providing ongoing legal counsel, corporate compliance, and contract interpretation to numerous private individuals as well as companies in varied fields.

Abraham W. on ContractsCounsel
View Abraham
Member Since:
November 18, 2021

Abraham W.

Owner
Free Consultation
Nashville, TN
5 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY, TN
Harvard Law School

Abraham's practice focuses on counseling emerging group companies in the technology and other commercial agreements, and assisting equity financings (specifically venture capital).

Dave Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Dave
Member Since:
November 22, 2021

Dave Y.

CO
Free Consultation
Colorado Springs
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CO
University of Denver

I am available for data privacy and cybersecurity projects. I am CIPP/US certified through the IAPP. I have also taken coursework focused on the GDPR through the London School of Economics. In my past career I was an intelligence officer. I am well acquainted with information security best practices and I have experience developing and implementing administrative controls for classified information and PII. I have worked extensively overseas and I am comfortable integrating with remote teams. Feel free to reach out any time if you have any additional questions on my areas of expertise or professional background.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Immigration lawyers by top cities
See All Immigration Lawyers
O-1 Visa lawyers by city
See All O-1 Visa Lawyers

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
O1 Visa Application
Location: California
Turnaround: A week
Service: Prepare & File
Doc Type: O-1 visa
Number of Bids: 2
Bid Range: $4,495 - $6,000

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Prepare O-1 Visa Application
Location: New York
Turnaround: Over a week
Service: Prepare & File
Doc Type: O-1 visa
Number of Bids: 2
Bid Range: $4,495 - $5,000
related contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city