Overview of O-1B Visas

There are many options for U.S. companies to bring over talented and exceptional workers from foreign nations. One option is the O visa, which is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa that allows for individuals with extraordinary ability in fields of business, sciences, arts, education, or athletics. Within the O-1 preference, which is the first tier (relative to O-2 and O-3 visas), there are O-1A and O-1B visas. This blog will focus on the latter, while next month’s blog will concentrate on O-1A visas.

Industries Under O-1B

The USCIS’s website lists individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, motion picture, or television industry as eligible for O-1B visas. Their accomplishments must be sufficient for visa holders to be recognized nationally or internationally. Common professions that use the O-1B visa include artists, directors, actors, singers, chefs, and a variety of other creative professionals. Essential support staff of O-1B visa holders are also eligible for this type of visa.

Applying for an O-1B Visa

To kick off the process, Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, must be filled out and sent to the appropriate USCIS office. Prospective O-1B visa holders must have a job offer in the U.S. that lines up with their exceptional ability. Your future employer must also submit the relevant documents. One benefit to O-1 visas relative to other visas given to workers of extraordinary abilities is that there is not an annual cap. 

To be successful in your O-1 application, you must submit documentation and other pieces of evidence that show your extraordinary ability and accomplishments. These pieces of evidence might include proof of significant commercial success related to cinematic works, high praise from top critics, and distinguished awards. 

More specifically, successful applicants must generally satisfy at least three of the following criteria:

  • You have been or will be featured in a leading role in a creative production, including film or TV
  • You have been or will be featured in a leading role in a creative production sponsored by a notable organization
  • Critics have praised your creative performance in prestigious trade publications
  • You have been compensated at a rate comparable to or exceeding the normal rate of similar workers
  • You have demonstrated significant critical success that is documented in media outlets and other publications
  • Other evidence, such as testimony from leading experts


The O-1B visa is a crucial aspect of the U.S. immigration system that brings over exceptional talent, which in turn adds to the rich tapestry of the country. If you are an employer looking to sponsor a creative professional or an applicant needing help procuring and sending supporting documentation, RelisLaw would be honored to help you achieve your goals. We offer a free 10-minute phone call to prospective clients; call us today at 1-800-514-4290.

The following two tabs change content below.


We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

Latest posts by RelisLaw (see all)