New Guidance On O-1A Visa Requirements

Mario A. Godoy
New Guidance On O-1A Visa Requirements

An O-1 visa allows someone with extraordinary abilities to temporarily enter the United States for work purposes. On January 21, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its guidance on what constitutes “extraordinary ability” O-1A nonimmigrant status and what evidence is required to satisfy the O-1A visa criteria with a goal to attract more foreign talent in the STEM fields. To help the United States’ economic recovery, the U.S. wants to attract more foreign STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) talent. The new guidance on O-1A visa requirements includes:

• O-1A nonimmigrant status is available to persons of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, business, education, or athletics. The new DHS guidance clarifies how it determines eligibility for immigrants of extraordinary abilities, such as Ph.D. holders, in the science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields.

• The new guidance provides examples of evidence that may satisfy the O-1A evidentiary criteria and discusses considerations that are relevant to evaluating such evidence, with a focus on the highly technical nature of STEM fields and the complexity of the evidence that is submitted.

• If an O-1A petitioner demonstrates that a particular criterion does not apply to their occupation, they may submit evidence that is of comparable significance to that criterion to establish their acclaim and recognition.

• The guidance provides examples of possible comparable evidence that may be submitted in support of petitions for beneficiaries working in STEM fields.

• When evaluating whether an individual of extraordinary ability is coming to work in their “area of extraordinary ability,” DHS officers will focus on whether the prospective work involves skillsets, knowledge or expertise shared with the occupation(s) in which the individual garnered acclaim.

What Is an O-1A Visa?

An O-1 temporary work visa is awarded to an individual in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for their achievements. The O-1 nonimmigrant temporary work visa classification is divided into two subcategories: O-1A and O-1B work visas.

O-1A Temporary Work Visa
For an O-1A temporary entry, applicants can qualify if they have exceptional talents in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.

O-1B Temporary Work Visa
The O-1B visa is reserved for foreign nationals who have extraordinary abilities or achievements in the arts, motion picture, or television industries.

International students who want to study and work in the STEM fields and American universities and businesses trying to attract global STEM talent should consult an experienced business immigration attorney to discuss how to qualify and apply for an O-1A visa.

Learn More:

New Program For J-1 STEM International Students
Expansion of STEM Optional Practical Training

Illinois Immigration Attorney

Godoy Law Office provides business immigration law counsel and representation for both employers and employees in all immigration law contexts. Many businesses obtain a competitive edge by recruiting foreign professionals for positions in their American companies. Likewise, many foreign business entrepreneurs and professionals pursue a better life for their families in coming to live and work in the United States.

Our experienced immigration team assists businesses and foreign professionals to achieve their goals through employment-based and entrepreneur-based visas. Contact Godoy Law Office at 630-912-0322.

AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office Immigration Lawyers serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Receive updates on immigration law changes that can affect you