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Categories of the O-1 Visa

July 21, 2023
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Canada's Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, made an announcement on Tuesday regarding a new initiative. The government plans to establish an open work-permit stream that will allow 10,000 American H-1B visa holders to come and work in Canada. Starting from July 16, 2023, H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US, along with their immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada.

Welcome to the Quick Read series where I publish a short piece on a specific topic around high-skilled immigration. Follow me on LinkedIn where I publish one such piece every day.

In this Quick Read series, I am going to talk about a Visa which is for individuals with exceptional skills in certain fields. Hold on, don’t shoot this visa down just because it holds a facade for an Extraordinary candidate. Read along to find out the criteria for the visa and whether you fit in!

What is the O-1 Visa?

The O-1A visa was designed to enable individuals with exceptional skills in business, education, science, and athletics to work in the United States.One of the primary requirements for obtaining an O-1A visa is having a job offer from a U.S. employer. To initiate the visa application process, you must apply for and secure employment with an employer located anywhere in the U.S.

Exploring the Four Categories

Many people view the O-1 as a single visa category, but it's actually split into two subcategories: O-1A and O-1B. And guess what? Each subcategory offers two routes: employer-based or agent-based. That means you have a total of four categories to consider under the O-1. Let's break it down:

  • O-1A + Employer: This category is for individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics who wish to work with a single employer while on their visa. It is ideal for those who have a specific job opportunity lined up.
  • O-1A + Agent: Similar to the first category, this option is for individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics. However, it allows the flexibility to work with multiple employers or projects, as you are sponsored by an agent rather than a specific employer.
  • O-1B + Employer: This category is designed for individuals with extraordinary ability in arts, television, or motion pictures who intend to work with a single employer. If you have a specific job offer in these fields, this could be the right fit for you.
  • O-1B + Agent: Just like the previous category, this option caters to individuals with extraordinary ability in arts, television, or motion pictures. It provides the freedom to work with multiple employers or projects under the sponsorship of an agent.

Consider Your Options

Before you begin the application process, consider what category suits your goals and circumstances best. Determine whether you fall under the O-1A or O-1B classification and decide if you prefer the flexibility of working with multiple employers or a single employer.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the different categories under the O-1 visa is crucial for a successful application. Stay tuned for more informative content on immigration and entrepreneurship. If you're interested in gaining creative autonomy as an immigrant, consider joining as an early reader of the upcoming book "#Unshackled." You can find more information about it here.

Disclaimer: The information shared in this article is not legal advice but insights based on research. For personalized legal advice tailored to your situation, it is recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer.

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