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O-1B Visa for Artists or Actors with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the Arts Industries

Calling all talented artists and actors!  Are you an actor trying to make a breakthrough in Hollywood?  Or perhaps you are a renowned violinist, famous choreographer, or an award-winning pastry chef?  If you excel in your field of arts or the motion picture industry, you may be eligible for the O-1B visa.  The O-1B visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry who will perform in the U.S. in an event or project associated with this ability.

The O-1 visa can be an alternative to the highly competitive H-1B visa (for skilled workers in specialty fields), which in recent years has reached its annual cap of 65,000 visas within days after opening the program.  Unlike the H-1B visa, the O-1 visa has no annual limit on the number of visas available, it can be filed year-round, and the length of stay can be extended indefinitely based on the time required to complete a project or event.

Individuals who are essential to the O-1 applicant’s successful performance in the U.S. may apply for an O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 visa application.

What is Extraordinary Ability and Extraordinary Achievement? 

Extraordinary ability in the arts requires an individual to demonstrate “distinction” or a high level of achievement that is far above what others possess in the field.  An eligible individual in the arts should be renowned, leading, or well-known in their field. Individuals with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry are recognized nationally or internationally as being outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture or television field.

Evidence required for O-1B:

To prove “extraordinary ability”, there must be evidence of a significant national or international award or prize in the field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, or Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or at least 3 of the following types of evidence:

  1. Performances as a leading or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation;

  2. National or international recognition for achievements;

  3. Performances in a starring or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation;

  4. Major commercial or critically acclaimed successes;

  5. Significant recognition for achievements from organizations, government agencies, or other experts in the field; or

  6. A high salary or other substantial compensation for services compared to others in the field.

If the above criteria do not apply to an individual in the field of arts, comparable evidence may be submitted.

Who Files the Petition:  Must be filed by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent.

Length of stay:  Initial period of up to 3 years.  May be extended indefinitely based on the time necessary to accomplish the initial event or project in increments of up to 1 year.

Availability:  Unlimited (no cap).

Deadlines:  None.  Application may not be filed more than one year before the actual need for the individual’s services and should be filed at least 45 days before the date of employment.

Do you qualify for the O-1B Visa?

To find out if you qualify for the O-1B visa, and how to complete an application, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

About The Grady Firm, P.C.

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*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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