If your company is looking to bring someone with extraordinary ability to the United States to work, you should consider the O-1 visa as an option. The O-1 visa is designed to allow those at the top of their field in areas like the arts, sciences, sports, education, and business to work in the United States. The O-1 visa has some distinct advantages over other types of work visas.
Approval for O-1 visas generally takes less time than other types of work visas. You should still plan for about three to four months. If you decide to pay for premium processing, this processing time can be cut down to as little as 15 days.
The second major advantage of O-1 visas is that there is no annual quota. HB-1 visas have a cap of 65,000 issues each year, with an additional 20,000 in the master’s exemption. The O-1 visa has no annual quota and is available to anyone who qualifies.
Another distinct advantage of an O-1 visa is the ability to extend the allowable time period. O-1 visas are initially granted for three (3) years. Visa holders then have the option of extending the time period in one-year increments. These extensions are unlimited as long as the visa holder maintains their nonimmigrant status and can provide evidence that an extended stay in the United States is required in order for them to complete the work they came over to perform. H1-B visas are also granted a three-year time period. There is a possibility of extensions, but they are not unlimited, like with an O-1 visa. There is a six-year maximum stay on an H1-B visa. In addition, L-1 visas also allow for extensions, but they are limited to five or seven years, depending on the type of visa.
H1-B visas do not apply to athletes and entertainers as they are only available for professionals. O-1 visas, however, do apply to athletes and entertainers that meet certain criteria. They must show outstanding ability in their field and the intent to work in their field while in the United States.
If you are considering applying for an O-1 visa, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.