O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa
Visas for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability
The O-1A and O1-B visas cater to individuals possessing exceptional skills in their respective domains. To qualify, applicants must meet at least three eligibility criteria. The O-1 visa categories include:
O-1A: For those with exceptional abilities in sciences, education, business, or athletics (excluding arts, motion pictures, or television industry)
O-1B: For those with exceptional abilities in arts or outstanding accomplishments in the motion picture or television industry
O-2: For individuals accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to provide assistance in a specific event or performance
O-3: For spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders
Eligibility and Requirements
The O-1A visa targets individuals who have exceptional abilities in the fields of sciences, education, business, or athletics, and have reached the pinnacle of their careers. These individuals must be visiting the United States temporarily to pursue work in their area of extraordinary ability.
To meet the requirements, applicants must present evidence of receiving a prestigious international award (e.g., Nobel Prize) or at least three of the following:
- National or international awards or prizes recognizing excellence in the field
- Membership in associations requiring outstanding achievements, as determined by national or international experts
- Published materials in professional or major trade publications, newspapers, or other media about the beneficiary and their work in the relevant field
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of significant importance in the field
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media outlets
- High salary or other compensation for services, as demonstrated by contracts or other reliable evidence
- Participation as a panelist or judge of others’ work in the same or related field
- Employment in a crucial capacity for organizations with distinguished reputations
- If the above criteria do not fit the beneficiary’s occupation, petitioners may submit comparable evidence to establish eligibility.
The O-1B visa is designated for foreign nationals who have achieved sustained national or international acclaim in the arts or outstanding accomplishments in the motion picture or television industry. These individuals must be visiting the United States temporarily to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability. For the arts, applicants must demonstrate “distinction” in their artistic field, which refers to a high level of achievement, skill, and recognition significantly surpassing the ordinary.
Applicants can establish qualification by providing evidence of nomination or receipt of a major national or international award (e.g., Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or Director’s Guild Award). Alternatively, they can qualify by presenting at least three of the following types of evidence:
- Lead or starring role in productions or events with distinguished reputations, as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements
- National or international recognition for accomplishments, as demonstrated by critical reviews or published materials about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
- Lead, starring, or critical role in organizations with distinguished reputations, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials
- Major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, indicated by title, ranking, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications
- Significant recognition for accomplishments from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field, with testimonials clearly stating the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
- High salary or substantial remuneration for services compared to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
If the above standards do not apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts, petitioners may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).
If you have any questions about the O-1 Visa, or need more information, call our office to schedule a phone consultation with a Senior Attorney at Jeelani Law Firm.
"*" indicates required fields