O-1 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the O-1 visa?

The O-1 visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability or achievement in fields such as the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics and wish to come to the United States to work or perform in their area of expertise.

Who is eligible for an O-1 visa?

To be eligible for an O-1 visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, supported by substantial evidence. There are two categories:

O-1A: For individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.

O-1B: For individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, including music, theater, film, television, and related fields.

What qualifies as "extraordinary ability" for the O-1 visa?

Extraordinary ability is defined as a level of expertise and recognition significantly above what is ordinarily encountered in your field. You must provide evidence, such as awards, publications, performances, or other accomplishments, to demonstrate your extraordinary ability.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an O-1 visa?

The initial period of stay for an O-1 visa holder can be for up to three years. Extensions are available, and there is no maximum limit on the total duration, as long as you continue to meet the requirements.

Can my family accompany me on an O-1 visa?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can accompany you on O-3 visas. However, O-3 visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States.

Can I change employers while on an O-1 visa?

If you are an O-1 nonimmigrant in the United States and want to change employers, the new employer must file Form I-129 with the USCIS office listed on the form instructions. Your new employer must file an amended petition with evidence showing they are your new employer and a request for an extension of stay.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on an O-1 visa?

Yes, you can apply for a green card while on an O-1 visa if you qualify for an employment-based immigrant category. Many O-1 visa holders pursue employment-based green cards.

How do I apply for an O-1 visa?

The process involves:

An employer or agent files an O-1 petition (Form I-129) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

USCIS reviews the petition, and if approved, you can apply for an O-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad (if you are not already in the U.S.).

Is there a numerical cap on the number of O-1 visas issued each year?

There is no numerical cap on the number of O-1 visas issued, unlike some other visa categories.

Can I include my family members in my O-1 visa application?

While your family members (spouse and children under 21) cannot be included in the same O-1 petition, they can apply for O-3 visas to accompany you to the U.S.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on an O-1 visa?

Yes, you can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter while on an O-1 visa, provided you have a valid O-1 visa stamp in your passport and a valid O-1 approval notice.
Davidson Law Group, P.C.
Based on 58 reviews
review us on
Vaibhav Singh
Vaibhav Singh
Davidson Law Group provided exceptional service for my EAD extension process. Communication was clear, and they were always available to address any queries promptly. The entire process was smooth, and their expertise in immigration law ensured a hassle-free experience. I highly recommend them for anyone seeking reliable immigration legal services.
Davidson Law Group has been exceptional in handling my L1-A visa process. Jennifer has been meticulous in gathering the required documents and processing the file. Leyla has thorough knowledge and expertise on immigration laws and can help with any of the concerns. Overall it has been an outstanding experience. Thanks
Ross Gregory
Ross Gregory
Tony Montana
Tony Montana
I recently used the services of Davidson Law Group and I must say, they are truly exceptional! 😊The team, especially Jennifer, was incredibly kind and helpful throughout the process 🌟Their efficiency and online system saved me a lot of time and energy, making everything much more convenient as I didn't need to visit the office often 🙏I'm deeply grateful for all the support and guidance they provided! And I 100% recommend Davidson Law Group to anyone in need of legal services 👍Thank you, Davidson Law Group, for making my experience so positive!!! 🎉🎉🎉
Vishnu Prashanth
Vishnu Prashanth
My deepest gratitude for the outstanding support and guidance I received during the visa extension and stamping process. Davidson Law Group team, and particularly Leyla, went above and beyond to ensure a smooth and successful experience.Navigating visa-related matters can be daunting, but with Leyla's assistance and the overall support from your firm, I felt confident and well-informed throughout. Leyla provided tremendous support at every step, answering my queries promptly and offering valuable insights that significantly eased the process. The meticulous attention to detail and personalized service I received have left a lasting impression.I am truly grateful for the exceptional service provided by the Davidson Law Group. The team's commitment to client satisfaction and expertise in immigration matters have undoubtedly made a significant impact on my journey.Thank you once again for your invaluable assistance. I look forward to recommending your services to others in need of legal guidance.
Harsimran Kaur
Harsimran Kaur

Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010