Chapter 2 - Eligibility for O Classification

A. General

The O nonimmigrant classification allows the following noncitizens to enter the United States or change status from another nonimmigrant category:

  • Nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1 nonimmigrants);

  • Nonimmigrants of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry (O-1 nonimmigrants); and 

  • Certain nonimmigrants accompanying and assisting an O-1 nonimmigrant (O-2 nonimmigrants).

B. Eligibility Requirements

In general, the beneficiary of a petition for O nonimmigrant classification must meet certain eligibility requirements, among others, as applicable:

O-1 Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Education, Business, or Athletics (commonly referred to as O-1A)

  • The beneficiary has extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim; and

  • The beneficiary seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.[1]

O-1 Extraordinary Ability in Arts (commonly referred to as O-1B (Arts))

  • The beneficiary has extraordinary ability in the arts, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim; and

  • The beneficiary seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.[2]

O-1 Extraordinary Achievement in Motion Picture or Television Industry (commonly referred to as O-1B (MPTV))

  • The beneficiary has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television productions; and

  • The beneficiary seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary achievement.[3]

O-2 Accompanying Principal O-1 Beneficiary (Essential Support Personnel)

  • The O-2 beneficiary seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of accompanying and assisting in the artistic or athletic performance by an O-1 beneficiary who is admitted for a specific event or events;

  • Is an integral part of such actual performance(s) or event(s);

  • Has critical skills and experience with the O-1 beneficiary, which are not of a general nature and are not possessed by a U.S. worker; and

  • Has a foreign residence which the O-2 has no intention of abandoning.

In cases involving a motion picture or television production, the O-2 beneficiary must also have skills and experience with the O-1 beneficiary that are not of a general nature and are critical either:

  • Based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship; or

  • With respect to a specific production because significant production (including pre- and post-production work) will take place both inside and outside the United States and the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.[4]

Footnotes


[^ 1] See INA 101(a)(15)(O)(i). See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(1)(ii)(A)(1).

[^ 2] See INA 101(a)(15)(O)(i). See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(1)(ii)(A)(1).

[^ 3] See INA 101(a)(15)(O)(i). See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(1)(ii)(A)(2).

[^ 4] See INA 101(a)(15)(O)(ii). See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(1)(ii)(B).

Current as of July 26, 2021