O Visas for Individuals with Extraordinary Achievement or Ability

Sponsor Talented Foreign Nationals to Work in the US

Artists & Entertainers    |    Athletes     |     Scientists     |    Business

Extraordinary Achievement, Outstanding Ability

  • Arts (including athletes)
  • Sciences
  • Education
  • Business
  • Motion pictures
  • Television

Individuals & Immediate Family

  • Artists
  • Athletes
  • Entertainers
  • Musicians
  • Family (may accompany you, but may not work)

Application Requirements

  • Petitioner must present a contract
  • Proof of international recognition
  • Must have the approval of a labor organization
  • Detailed itinerary

Understand the Options

Watch: Why documenting your life in the US is so important

Mira: Por qué documentar tu vida en los Estados Unidos es tan importante

Christine Swenson, quoted in UPCOMER Online

Any foreign national who signs with a[n] agent [or performs in the US] must have a valid … O visa (possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics) in order to earn a salary.”

For temporary work in the US, the O Visa offers opportunity for foreign nationals with outstanding abilities

  • O-1A visa: For those with extraordinary ability in the arts.  This does not include the motion pictures or television industries however.
  • O-1B visa: For those who have extraordinary abilities or achievements in the motion pictures or television industry.  It is a very limited category, but the demonstration of extraordinary achievement is not as high a standard as the other professions in this category.
  • O-2 visa:  For those who are an “integral part” of the athlete or entertainer's work. They must be essential personnel who perform functions that cannot be completed by US workers due to their critical skill and historical experience with the athlete or entertainer.  The O-2 visa is not available for professionals in the sciences, business, or education.
  • O-3 visa:  For immediate family: spouse and/or children (under 21 years old).  They may come and tour with you but they cannot work.  They can go to school though without having to apply for an F visa.
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