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Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. immigration has seen many policy changes, including the many travel and visa “bans”. From closures of US consulates, embassies, and USCIS officers, to cancellations of visa interviews and appointments, hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals and their families have been impacted.

The green card ban suspends the issuance of new immigrant visas from abroad like the EB-1A, EB-2, EB-3 immigrant visa categories.

The business visa ban suspends the issuance of non-immigrant visas for those seeking to enter as: H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, and some J-1 categories. Many of these employment-based visas, like the H-1B, have been the subject of increased government scrutiny over the years.

However, there are a few business visas that are not covered by the recent executive orders – the E-2 (“investor visa”), and the O-1A and O-1B (“extraordinary visas”). Both visa categories require extensive documentation and may be still subject to heightened scrutiny by the government but they can be great options for many of our clients.

This post will focus on the O-1 visa.

O-1 visa applicants must show that they have reached the very top of their field, from sciences, education, business, or athletics (O-1A), to the arts, motion picture or television industry (O-1B). These cases are often very dense applications consisting of evidence of the applicant’s extraordinary ability, including publications, press, and letters of support from other experts in their field.

As a full service immigration firm, we regularly files these types of cases, and has been closely monitoring potential policy changes that could impact these visa categories at any moment. For now, it appears these categories will continue to be adjudicated – and even approved! Here at McEntee Law, we were delighted to get 3 O-1 visa approvals in one day, even in the height of the pandemic. With an O-1 approval from USCIS, applicants will be able to apply for their visa stamps once embassies re-open abroad and interviews resume. For those applicants already in the U.S., they may be able to change or extend their status here with that approved O-1 petition.

We are humbled to represent such extraordinary clients!

Are you a foreign national with an extraordinary ability in the Arts, Science, Education, Athletics, or Business? Keep in mind that you may be more extraordinary than you think!

We would love to hear from you! Contact us today for a consultation, and visit our Extraordinary Visas website to learn more!

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