O: An O visa is a classification of non-immigrant temporary worker visa granted by the United States to an alien “who possesses extraordinary ability 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 those achievements,” and to certain assistants and immediate family members of such aliens.
There are three types of O visas:
- O-1A– individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
- O-1B– individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
- O-2– individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. “For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an ‘integral part’ of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be ‘essential’ to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.”
- O-3– individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.
An O-1 visa is initially granted for up to three years. Subsequently, it can be extended for one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of extensions that may be granted. Spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa holders do not receive the status, but instead qualify for O-3 visas.
P: A P visa is a type of temporary employment visa of the United States, granted to alien athletes, artists, and entertainers, and their spouses and children.
P visa classifications are as follows:
- P-1applies to individual or team athletes, or members of an entertainment group (P-1B) that are internationally recognized. A maximum of 25,000 P visas are issued annually.
- P-2applies to artists or entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program.
- P-3applies to artists or entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique.
- P-4is for the spouse, or child under the age of 21, of a P-1, P-2, or P-3 alien and who is accompanying, or following to join, the alien.
A sports team can file petition for its foreign athlete and for a P-1 visa to be granted to the team it must have achieved “international recognition” in the sport. An athlete who will come to the United States to compete in individual events rather than as a team must show that he or she is internationally recognized. The event the athlete is coming to the United States to participate in must have a distinguished reputation and must require the participation of athletes and teams of international recognition. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members nor the acclaim of a particular production, is paramount.
Entertainers must be part of an entertainment group to obtain a P-1 visa. Individual artists cannot usually obtain a P-1 visa, except when joining the rest of their foreign entertainment group already in the United States. Like athletes, entertainers must be “internationally recognized” as outstanding in their area to be granted P visas, and have a sustained period of achievement no less than one year. Additionally, a minimum for 75 percent of the group’s individual members must have a substantial relationship to the group, generally satisfied by at least one year of membership.
To establish “international recognition,” a petitioner may rely either on documentation of a major, one-time achievement by the group, such as the nomination for, or receipt of, a significant international award or prize, or at least three of the following:
- Has and will perform as leading/starring group in productions/events with distinguished reputations;
- International recognition/acclaim for outstanding achievements;
- Has and will perform as leading/starring group for organizations with distinguished reputations;
- Record of major commercial/critically acclaimed success;
- Significant recognition from organizations, critics, governments, other recognized experts;
Commanded/will command high salary/other substantial remuneration relative to others similarly situated.