US O1B Visa: Extraordinary ability in the arts

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Applicants for this category must show that they have what is considered to be an extraordinary level of ability in the artistic industries.  A wide range of different occupations in the Arts including artists, singers, actors, fashion designers and even chefs may be included in this category. Support staff such as animators, lighting riggers, choreographers, set designers, make up artists, coaches, and animal trainers can be included. Essentially any specialist profession within the arts is covered by the O1B.  O1 visas are becoming more popular because of the limited number of US visa options.

O1B Visa Offer of employment

O1B visa applicants must have a confirmed US job offer before they apply.  An US Agent can be the employer

O1 Visa Criteria

There are 6 criteria for the O-1B visa, and applicants should usually meet at least 3 of these for their visa to be granted. However, there is some flexibility.   Alternatives may be considered.  Evidence of having been awarded a highly acclaimed prize or award – such as an Oscar, Turner prize, or ArtPrize – also allows applicants to meet the eligibility criteria.  

Evidence of at least 3 of the following criteria is usually required:

  • That you have previously and will in the future perform in a leading role in critically acclaimed films, plays, or other productions/events

  • That you have previously or will in the future perform in a leading role in films, plays, or other productions/events for a prestigious organisation

  • Published material regarding the commercial and/or critical success of your work in journals, trade publications, and other major media outlets

  • Critical reviews and/or other material regarding your ability published in journals, trade publications, and other major media outlets

  • Other evidence of your reputation, such as testimonials from distinguished critics, organisations, and experts

  • Earning a salary appropriate to a high level of ability in your artistic field

    Some other proof of your exceptional ability is sometimes accepted. Please contact us if you're not sure if the evidence you have is suitable

Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. We have an in-house US immigration lawyer who helps with visa applications.

For more information and advice on US immigration law and US visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at