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To The Most Talented.
The O-1 visa is a temporary visa that requires sponsorship by a U.S. employer or U.S. based agent. It is available for an initial period of up to three years, with an unlimited number of one-year extensions or new petitions available thereafter. O-1 visas are available to individuals who have extraordinary ability in business, athletics, or the sciences (O-1A) or are recognized as distinguished in the arts (O-1B). The visa classification also allows for accompanying essential personnel (O-2).
Individuals can qualify for the O-1 visa by winning a major internationally recognized award in their fields, such as a Grammy. However, the vast majority of applicants are awarded O-1 visas after proving that they meet at least three regulatory criteria serving as evidence of their success in their respective fields.
EB-1A Green Card
The EB-1A Visa is often discussed in the media as the “Genius Green Card.” Its requirements are substantially similar to the O-1 visa, however in practice the threshold is higher to attain. Unlike the O-1 visa, individuals can self-sponsor, even if residing abroad. Many individuals first get an O-1 visa before transitioning to its permanent analogue.
EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card
Generally, most employment based Green Card categories require employer sponsorship and the testing of the U.S. labor market. Certain individuals can, however, obtain a waiver of this requirement where their immigration is in the “national interest.”
In order to qualify for this visa, an applicant must have a Master’s Degree (or its equivalent, e.g. a Bachelor’s and five years of progressive experience) or show “exceptional ability.” Further, the applicant must show that the intended work in the U.S. is of substantial merit and national importance, as well as that the s/he is well positioned to advance that work. On balance, the U.S. government must in its discretion agree that it is more beneficial to grant the Green Card as opposed to require a labor market certification.