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Orlando Immigration Lawyers

Extraordinary Ability Visa

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The O-1 non-immigrant visa category is utilized for foreign artists, athletes, entertainers, scientists, educators, and business people who wish to temporarily come to the United States to work in their particular field of achievement. As an entertainer, it may be your ultimate goal to come to America and perform. If you are athlete, educator, or business person, your dream may be to share your talents and abilities on a national scale.

Whatever your goals may be, you can trust that the legal team at Dean Mead can assist you through the entirety of your legal process. Our mission is to help you realize your dream, and as a result, can offer you personal and attentive legal representation. In order to begin your process in sharing your achievements and extraordinary talents with the nation and the world, you need to speak with an immigration attorney from our firm who can help you achieve your dream.


In order to qualify as an immigrant of extraordinary ability specifically in the fields of science, education, athletics, or business, the foreign national who is designated to receive an O-1A Visa must be able to prove extraordinary ability. Though this may seem simple to do, proof actually requires a lot of documentation. Because the majority of evidence may be physically located in the foreign national’s home country, providing the appropriate credentials may prove more challenging than one would originally think.

Individuals seeking an O-1A Visa must demonstrate their extraordinary ability in their field or area of expertise. Typically, the foreign national must have either received a major international award such as a Nobel Prize, or meet several other requirements. These requirements may include:

  • Scientific, scholarly, or business related contributions of major significance in the field
  • Published material of original, self-authored scholarly articles in professional publications, journals, media, or newspapers
  • High salary or other remuneration
  • Membership in associations of the field which require outstanding achievements, and require judgment of other nationally recognized experts in the respective field
  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Authorship of scholarly discussions in major media outlets

In order for you to be eligible for O-1 visa, a U.S. corporation or agent must also support or sponsor your visit. In addition, foreign nationals must be able to prove that they are only coming to the United States for a temporary period of time, and only on the grounds of continuing their work in the area of their practice, capability, or extraordinary ability.


Extraordinary ability in the arts has different standards of eligibility and requires different qualifications. While extraordinary ability in the arts or performance industry still requires proof of a high degree of distinction, skill, and recognition, notability or prominence in the field requires specific evidence. Individuals who need an O-1B Visa must demonstrate that they have received, or been nominated for, significant prizes or awards in their respective field, such as an Academy Award, Director’s Guild Award, or a Grammy. Other requirements can include:

  • A high salary or other substantial payment
  • Performed or will perform lead or starring role
  • Received significant recognition for achievements by other experts in the field
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as determined through critics’ reviews, publications, publicity releases, or endorsements
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success, as proven by box office success, ratings, or publicity


An O-1 Visa holder is admitted to the United States initially for a three year period. An extension to the duration of your visa can be petitioned, and the USCIS will determine additional time necessary to accomplish the duties of the job that the visa holder was hired to accomplish. Visas may be extended indefinitely in additional one year increments. In order to file a Petition for O-1 Visa status, the foreign national must complete a petition (Form I-129) and file it with the USCIS Regional Service Center within four months prior to the start of the requested date.

Although an O-1 Petition may take several months to resolve, an additional $1,000 processing fee may allow the USCIS to settle a Petition within 15 days of receiving the petition. At Dean Mead, a large portion of our practice is devoted to assisting individuals and their potential employers with O-1 extraordinary ability visa assistance. We have more than 25 years of legal experience, and can be trusted to successfully prepare your O-1 Visa.

If you have a question where you can speak directly to our attorneys or support staff, do not hesitate to give us a call.  Please contact Catherine Henin-Clark at about your visa needs. She doesn’t hesitate to give her cell phone number to her clients where they can reach her at any time of day.

Many of our clients are world champion athletes, including water skiers, snowboarders, motocross racers, sumo wrestlers, wake boarders, and other professional athletes. Attorneys in our Immigration department have also handled many successful O-1 visas for other persons who are experts in their field, including musicians, acrobats, and scientists.

No matter where you are, we can help you realize your dreams. If your native language is French or Spanish, we can assist you.

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