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Some visas are reserved for 'extraordinary' people

Among the visa programs offered by the U.S. government are those that many foreign nationals may qualify for, like the H-1B, which allows those with certain jobs to come to the U.S. temporarily to work.

Other, more exotic nonimmigrant visas are reserved for narrow categories of individuals.  The law puts them in a special category, because applications for these visas are relatively rare, and people granted one of them will likely bring unique skills or talents to this country.

One example is the O-1 visa. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website explains, the O-1 visa is for individuals with “extraordinary ability” in science, art, education, business or athletics.

There are actually three visas within the O category. The O-1A visa is for those with extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics. The O-1B is for extraordinary artists and individuals highly accomplished in film or television.

To allow these special individuals to travel to the U.S. with their families and staff, USCIS also offers the O-2 and O-3 visas. The O-2 is for individuals accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to provide assistance for a specific event or performance that is “essential” to that event’s completion. The job cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker. Meanwhile, the O-3 visa is for the spouse and/or children of the O-1 or O-2.

Only a select few can qualify for an O-1 visa, but several other types of nonimmigrant visas allow foreign nationals to pursue work opportunities in this country.

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