Should I apply for the EB-1 visa or the O-1 visa for extraordinary ability?

Many talented foreigners are confused by the visa options for immigrants with extraordinary abilities. At first glance, the EB-1 visa and the O-1 visa seem to be extremely similar. How do you know which choice is right for you?

Although both the EB-1 and O-1 visas were developed to encourage foreigners with special talents and abilities to immigrate to the United States, the two options are considerably different.

The EB-1 visa for extraordinary ability is geared toward athletes, artists, and businessmen with acclaimed talents. It is an immigration visa meant for those who would like to live permanently in the United States with a green card. If you come to America with an EB-1 visa, you do not need an employer sponsor or a job lined up, but you are expected to continue working in your field if you would like permanent residency.

The O-1 visa for extraordinary ability is for anyone with internationally acknowledged talents, from athletes to managers to actors. This is a non-immigration visa that requires an employee sponsor and a job in the U.S. Proving a certain level of talent and qualifying for an O-1 visa is more difficult than qualifying for an EB-1 visa. An unlimited number of O-1 visas can be issued each year.