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O - Foreign Workers with Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in specific fields to come to the U.S. to work in the specific areas in which they have the extraordinary abilities or achievements. These specific fields are reserved for those in the motion picture and television fields, the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics.

The O-1 visa has an initial term of up to three years but can be extended multiple times in one-year increments, as long as the O-1 visa holder continues to meet the eligibility requirements.

The bar to meet the eligibility requirements is very high. For example, individuals can demonstrate extraordinary ability by receiving a major, internationally-recognized award or by making major contributions in their field.

There is no annual cap on the allocation of O visas.

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Statutory authorization for this type of non-immigrant visa can be found in Section 101(a)(15)(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 USC § 1101(a)(15)(O)(i)) at the following link:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=RETRIEVE&FILE=$$xa$$busc8.wais&start=134104&SIZE=314774&TYPE=TEXT.
The requirements are further detailed in 8 CFR § 214.2(o)(1)-(3), and available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/janqtr/pdf/8cfr214.2.pdf.

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