Practice Areas

Philadelphia O Visa Lawyer

O-1 Visas: Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

The US government awards O-1 visas to foreign nationals who possess “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who [have] a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, and [have] been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.”

O visas are nonimmigrant visas, and are only meant for those seeking temporary admission to the United States. O-1 petitions are filed by May Law group for an agent or prospective employer, and must be approved by the USCIS. To schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia office, please call 215-880-4977.

O-1, O-2 and O-3 Visas

In addition to an O-1 visa, a foreign national may also apply for an O-2 or O-3 visa. O visas are generally classified as follows:

  1. O-1: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or individuals with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
  2. O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1 visa holder to assist in a specific event or performance. Applicants must show that this is an integral part of the actual performance, and that they possess critical skills and experience that are invaluable to the performance, and not easily duplicated.
  1. O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s or O-2s.

O-1 petitions are filed by May Law Group on behalf of an agent or prospective employer. The process may not be started more than one year prior to employment, though it is recommended that the applicant file at least forty-five days ahead of time to avoid delays.

O visas are valid up to three years, and extensions are possible in one year increments as long as the individual (or individual’s spouse or parent) continues to work in the same field of extraordinary ability. Please visit our O visa page for more information.

Providing Documentation of Extraordinary Ability

A foreign national must provide evidence of his or her extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business, or athletics. A major internationally recognized prize or award (such as the Nobel Prize) is acceptable proof on its own—otherwise an applicant must show three or more of the following:

  1. Receipt of a lesser nationally or internationally recognized award or prize for excellence in the field in which extraordinary ability is claimed.
  2. Membership in an association related to the field of extraordinary ability. Such a membership must require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized experts in their field.
  3. Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in a professional journal or other major media.
  4. Published material in a professional or major trade publication, or other major media, that specifically discusses an applicant’s work.
  5. Evidence that the applicant served as a judge of other’s work in the field of extraordinary ability, either on a panel or as an individual.
  6. Evidence in the form of numerous letters from prominent colleagues who can confirm the applicant’s original scholarly or scientific contribution of major significance to the field. The case will be strengthened by letters from outside of the employment and academic circle of the applicant. Recommendations from experts in other countries are particularly desirable.
  7. Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity in an organization and/or establishment that has a distinguished reputation.
  8. Evidence that the applicant commands a high salary or other compensation for his or her services.

Our attorneys can help an applicant provide all the required documentation to establish the applicant’s extraordinary ability and achievements.

Providing Documentation of Extraordinary Ability: Motion Pictures or Television

Individuals who wish to demonstrate extraordinary achievements in the motion picture or television industry must document a “high level of achievement in the field of arts as evidenced by a degree or skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered.” A major internationally recognized prize or award (such as a Grammy or Academy Award) is acceptable proof on its own—otherwise an applicant must show three or more of the following.

  1. Evidence that the alien has performed, and will continue to perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events that have a distinguished reputation. Such evidence may include critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, contracts, endorsements, as well as articles in major media publications.
  2. Evidence that the alien has achieved national or international recognition for achievements. Such evidence may include critical reviews and pieces published in a major media outlet by, on, or about the alien.
  3. Evidence that the alien has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by the alien’s title, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, or other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications.
  4. Evidence that the alien has received significant recognition for his or her achievements from recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged. This may include published articles and testimonials from such experts.
  5. Evidence that the alien receives or will receive a relatively high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in his or her field.

May Law Group can help the applicant collect and provide all the necessary documents to prove the applicant’s extraordinary ability and achievements.

USCIS Consultation Requirement

The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires a consultation with a United States-based organization in the field of the alien’s extraordinary ability. Individuals seeking O-1 visas in the television and motion picture industries must seek a consultation with the industry labor union and management organization. The purpose of this consultation is to affirm the applicant’s accomplishments in the field and that the position at issue requires an individual with extraordinary ability. In addition, applicants must have in their petitions an advisory opinion from a peer group, labor union, or expert in the applicant’s field.

If an applicant’s Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is approved by the USCIS, he or she can then apply for the visa at the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware

To speak to an O visa attorney about your immigration goals, including obtaining a work visa in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, or elsewhere in the United States, we welcome you to contact an O-1 visa attorney online, or by phone at 215-880-4977. May Law Group offers free consultations to foreign nationals seeking to obtain work visas. We have represented clients from Korea, Europe, India, Pakistan, and most other parts of the world from our Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York offices.

Contact Us

Complete the form below to speak to one of our immigration law attorneys.




Contact & Address Information

Pittsburgh Office
One PPG Place
Suite 1600
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Toll Free1877LAWUSIM
Map & Directions

Philadelphia Office
1515 Market Street
Suite 1200
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Map & Directions

New York Office
745 Fifth Avenue
Suite 500
New York, NY 10151

Map & Directions