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New Orleans O-Visa Lawyers

Helping artists, scientists, educators, and athletes obtain temporary visas in New Orleans and Slidell

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

O-visas are used by immigrants with extraordinary talents (and certain staff) to enter the United States for a temporary time. O-1 nonimmigrant visas are used for people with abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion pictures, and television. O-2 nonimmigrant visas are used by assisting staff.

The New Orleans region is an attractive cultural location for many people with unique or special talents. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans immigration lawyers help employers bring people with extraordinary talent to New Orleans. We’ll explain the process, answer all your questions, help you complete the paperwork, and help ensure that you and any co-applicants have the correct documentation.

What are the eligibility requirements for a nonimmigrant O-visa?

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

According to the USCIS, O-1 nonimmigrant classification is based on the beneficiary/applicant wanting to enter America to continue working in  his/her area of extraordinary ability/achievement:

  • 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.”
  • 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.”
  • 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.”

The O-2 nonimmigrant classification “Accompanying Principal O-1 Beneficiary (Essential Support Personnel)” requires that 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.
  • Has a foreign residence which the O-2 has no intention of abandoning.

If the O-2 applicant is assisting other O-1 immigrants in motion picture or television production, the O-2 applicant must have non-general and critical skills with the O-1 applicant:

  • “Based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship - or
  • With respect to a specific production because significant productions (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.”

There is also an O-3 nonimmigrant visa for the spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

How long can I stay if I have an O-visa?

According to United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), the O visa holder can stay for as long as is needed to finish the event or activity – up to three years. It may be possible to extend the stay up to one year at a time if necessary to complete or continue the same event or activity.

What are the filing requirements for an O-visa?


At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans O-visa lawyers help applicants (often through people living or working in New Orleans who ask for our assistance) understand what forms and evidence are needed, when the forms must be filed, and all other O-visa application requirements. We strive to obtain O-visas so the work in the New Orleans region can begin on time.

The first step is to file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The applicant will need to complete the form, sign it, pay any applicable fees, and provide necessary evidence and supporting documents. The employer normally files the petition for all the employees who need O-visas to work in the United States.

After Form I-129 is filed, the employer will receive a:

  • Receipt notice confirming USCIS received your petition
  • Biometric services notice, if applicable
  • Notice to appear for an interview, if required
  • Notice of the USCIC decision

If Form I-129 is approved, then the applicant can apply for the relevant O-visa at a US Embassy or consular office in the applicant’s home country.

What are the criteria for an O-1 A and O-1 B visa?

Our New Orleans O-1 and O-2 visa lawyers will explain the requirements and documents needed to support the applicant’s claim of “extraordinary” ability.

For O-1 applicants, the beneficiary/applicant:

Must provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability. If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.

An exception to the consultation requirement may be permitted if the applicant’s employer or agent can show that an appropriate peer group or labor union doesn’t exist. In that case, the evidence in support of Form I-129 will be reviewed. The USCIS may waive the consultation work for extraordinary ability in the arts field if the applicant is seeking “readmission to perform similar services within two years of the date of a previous consultation.”

Additional criteria for O-1 applicants

The petitioner must provide USCIS with a copy of any written contracts between the petitioner/employer and the applicant/person with extraordinary skills, or a summary of the terms of an oral employment contract.

The petitioner must provide an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, if applicable. The petitioner must establish that there are events or activities in your field of extraordinary ability for the validity period requested such as an itinerary for a tour or a series of events.

Further, per the USCIS, “A U.S. agent may be your actual employer, the representative of both you and the employer, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.”

What evidence is needed to demonstrate extraordinary ability?

The petitioner needs to provide evidence of the applicant’s extraordinary talents. The petitioner must provide “at least three different types of documentation corresponding to those listed in the regulations, or comparable evidence in certain circumstances, and the evidence must, as a whole, demonstrate that you meet the relevant standards for classification.”

The evidence for O-1 A applicants may include:

  • Receipt of major internationally recognized awards
  • Membership in various associations that require outstanding achievement and are nationally or internationally recognized
  • Published materials about the applicant in major media sources, newspapers, or publications
  • Original contributions in the field
  • Scholarly authorships in professional journals
  • A high salary, in writing, indicating extraordinary ability
  • Many other documents and evidence

Additional documentation is required for O-2 beneficiaries.

Do you have a O nonimmigrant visa lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two offices located in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

New Orleans immigration attorneys who can help with O-visas

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we help employers bring the people from abroad who provide the science, education, business, athletics, and arts that enrich the culture of New Orleans, Slidell, and Louisiana. We understand the O-2 visa process and the evidence you need to support your petitions. To help global partners with extraordinary talent spend the time they need in America for various events, please call us or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. Our New Orleans and Slidell immigration lawyers are ready to help you today.