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Immigration Blog

Immigration Blog

The Immigration attorneys at Chamberlain Hrdlicka have considerable experience handling the entire spectrum of immigration matters for individuals, families and businesses both in the U.S. and abroad. We have represented clients in all parts of the United States and in more than 100 countries.

We have represented companies and non-profit organizations both in the U.S. and abroad in obtaining U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visas through the employment, business and investment categories, as well as in U.S. citizenship matters. Additional expertise includes employment cases, labor certifications and consular work.

For individuals, we have handled a wide range of immigration matters including visa processing, naturalizations and defense of removal (deportation) cases. And with support from the Tax Planning group, have assisted in pre-immigration tax planning.

While the constant change in U.S. immigration laws presents challenges for many in this area of work, we are at the forefront of this rapidly changing field of law. As members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and founding members of IMMLAW, Chamberlain’s immigration team actively participates in the exchange of ideas and information in emerging areas so that our clients can benefit from the most innovative techniques in the ever-changing immigration environment.

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Is an O-1 Visa an Option for Your Non-Citizen Employee?

What is an O-1 visa?

O-1 visa provides work authorization for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics. Petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent. The visas are granted for the length of time necessary for a particular project or an event, up to a maximum of three years, with unlimited extensions in one-year increments. While difficult to obtain, the O-1 visa can still be the most viable and expedient solution for many U.S. employers, as there is no annual limit on the number of people who can receive them, unlike other work-related visas.

Does my employee qualify for an O-1 visa?

To demonstrate their extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics, the O-1 visa beneficiary must show they have been recognized nationally or internationally for their achievements by supplying supporting evidence, such as proof of having received a major internationally recognized award (such as the Nobel Prize) or at least three different types of documentation corresponding with categories listed in the USCIS regulations, or comparable evidence in certain circumstances, such as written advisory opinions from a peer group or a person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability and other documentary proof of prominence or significant recognition.

What are my next steps?

If the above requirements seem overwhelming, rest assured that the O-1 visa is granted to all kinds of individuals, not just Pulitzer Prize or Oscar winners. Do not automatically assume your employee is not eligible, just because they have not won a major prize or award. Non-typical O-1 visa cases, such as cases with recent graduates can also be granted. An experienced immigration attorney can help employers not only decide which visa type is best for their employee but also help you determine and gather the necessary documentation.

While you may not file the petition more than a year before the actual need for the beneficiary's services, prepare well in advance especially if your foreign-born employee is already working in the United States, but their current visa is set to expire.

We are available to answer any questions as you journey through the process.  Call our office with your O-1 visa questions today. 

  • Kisshia  Simmons
    Senior Counsel

    Kisshia Simmons is an Immigration practitioner with about 20 years of experience.

    Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Simmons was a Founder and Partner with a law firm in New York City. Ms. Simmons has represented small and medium-sized ...