Immigration Lawyers

O-1 Visa


There is a special visa meant for extraordinary individuals. This visa is called the O-1 visa. It is a visa for people who are at the top of their field whether that’s an extraordinary athlete, stand-up comedian or business professional. This is the classic visa for artists however it can be for a range of professions.

In fact, it’s a lesser-known visa type that can be a good alternative if you qualify for an H-1B visa. You could be eligible for an H-1B visa if you work in a specialty occupation and you are highly educated in that field. The H-1B visa is subject to a cap and can generally only be applied for once a year. The O-1 visa, in contrast, can be applied for at any time. Additionally, the O-1 visa doesn’t require formal education but rather being recognized as being high up in your field.

The important thing for you to know if think you might qualify is what are the requirements. For an O-1 application, there are categories of evidence and you need to show evidence of at least 3 of them. For example, for an O-1B application for an artist, you would need to show evidence of the following:

  1. You have performed and will perform services in a leading role in productions and/or events
  2. Major publications featuring you or your work
  3. You have performed and will perform in a leading role for a distinguished organization/establishment
  4. Commercial or critically acclaimed success in the field
  5. Significant recognition of achievements
  6. You have a high salary in relation to others in the field

It should be noted that the exception to having to provide all this evidence is if you have a significant award like an Academy Award or an Emmy.
Additionally, you can add evidence that doesn’t fit in to these categories if you think it will help your case.

Do I qualify for an O-1 visa?

You may qualify for this visa if you are well known in your field nationally and internationally. It’s important to start collecting evidence from throughout your career of your work. An immigration lawyer is able to review the documents you have and advise on your chances of getting an O-1 visa. Sometimes it is worth waiting some time until you have more documents before filing your application.

If you have plans to work in the US in the future, it can be very helpful to start understanding what visa type would be right for you. You can then start curating a collection of all your achievements. It can be hard to start thinking back to what happened 5-10 years ago however if you have a collection built up over the years, you are likely to have more documents.

Another important factor is making sure to keep a relationship with influential people who you are working with or have worked with. As part of your O-1 visa application, you can submit testimonials from people who know you. This could be other experts in your field who have authority and are able to confirm your abilities and achievements.

How can I make an O-1 application?

An O-1 application is made to USCIS no matter where you are located. This is the relevant US authorities who handle this visa application. They will review the forms and all the evidence you provide.

Following their review, they may request further documents if they don’t feel that what you provided is enough to approve your application. This is normally referred to as a Request for Evidence (RFE).

You will then be provided with a final decision on your case. Once approved, you will attend a short interview at the Embassy in your country of residence to issue you a visa in your passport.

The O-1 visa can be issued for up to 3 years. It is even eligible for renewal.

How can an immigration lawyer help me?

An immigration lawyer will write and put together the full application. They will review and organize your documents. They will write your application based on your professional experience and the documents you provide. They will prepare the necessary forms and explain every step that is needed for the process.
Our law firm, Decker, Pex, Levi, Rosenberg & Co, offers the unique service of a US immigration department who is located in Israel. Our staff deal with the Embassy in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem regularly and can prepare you effectively for your interview. Critically, our staff are aware of the weight of documents that are from Israel. We understand the language and the cultural references and can convey this in the O-1 application. Since the US authorities likely don’t know the Israeli market and media, in your application we will break down the importance of each piece of evidence.

Call us for a consultation if you would like more information or would like to get started. We can be reached on 03-372-4722.

Related articles

Why work with us?


 We are US and Israeli lawyers that have a deep understanding of both cultures and therefore, can streamline your process with the US immigration authorities.


We handle your case from start to finish – from the initial consultation until your application is approved.


We believe in being transparent and efficient, updating you at every stage.