The O-1A visa is recommended for individuals who are considered leaders in the field and have received international or national recognition for their achievements. In order to apply for an O-1, you must be sponsored by a U.S. employer or agent on either a part-time or full-time basis. Oftentimes, the O-1A is used a stepping-stone toward obtaining an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card.
A strong O-1 filing should present strong evidence of at least 4 of the 8 criteria listed by USCIS (although only 3 criteria are required):
In the past couple of years, USCIS has been pretty strict in reviewing O-1 petitions, usually requiring more evidence than is necessary to adjudicate the case. Therefore, the O-1 petition would be a very “document-heavy” filing, which requires extensive evidence to prove you’re top in your field. As USCIS applies a very high level scrutiny to these types of cases, it is very important to evaluate all evidence available and present your strengths accordingly.
O-1 petitions can be approved for up to 3 years at a time, depending on the length of the job offer/itinerary submitted with the petition. Currently, there is no limit on the number of extensions an individual may receive.