FAQs About O1 Visas in Houston, TX

Immigration law and visas can be an incredibly complex world. There are many rules, regulations, and pieces of legislation that can add to the complexity of visa applications here in the US. For those of you who may be interested in applying for an O1 visa in Houston, TX, here are some frequently asked questions about this visa category.

What Is the Purpose of the O1 Visa?

The O1 Visa is meant for aliens (foreign nationals) of extraordinary ability in the sciences, the arts, education, business, or athletics. Dependents of O1 visa holders would be eligible for an O3 visa.

What are the Benefits of an O1 Visa?

The benefits are that there is no visa lottery to go through, there is no wage requirement, and premium processing is always available for this O1 visa application category.

What Is the Standard of Review of an O1 Visa?

There are different standards of review for applicants of different specialties. The standard for determining “extraordinariness” is highest for business persons, educators, and scientists, and lower for the arts. It also requires an employer in the states.

For applicants for the O1 visa whose expertise is in science, education, and business, extraordinary ability is shown by sustained national or international acclaim, and he or she must have risen to the top of the field. For applicants of extraordinary ability in the arts, the immigration rules require “distinction.” This means the person must have achieved a high-level achievement in the first of arts, as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition that is substantially above that ordinarily encountered.

What Is the Processing Time for an O1 Visa?

After the I-129 petition is filed to apply for the O1 visa, processing occurs at either the California Service Center (CSC) or the Vermont Service Center (VSC) depending on the beneficiary’s proposed employment location with the O1 visa. Processing times vary from time to time, especially with the impact of COVID-19 measures. Current processing times can be found on the USCIS website.