O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visas for Scientists, Researchers, Artists, Athletes and Others



The O-1 visa is designed for individuals with proven extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television productions who are coming to the US to work on a project or event in their area of expertise.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education,  business, or athletics is defined as a level of expertise indicating that an individual has risen to the very top of his or her field of endeavor.  Extraordinary ability in the arts is defined as a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered such that the individual is renowned, leading, or well-known in their field.

Extraordinary achievement in motion pictures or television refers to a high level of achievement in the movie or television industry accompanied by a degree of skill that significantly exceeds other members of the industry.

Proof of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa petition must be accompanied by evidence of national or international acclaim and that the petitioners’ achievements have been recognized in their field of expertise. 

Evidence of a one-time achievement can prove Extraordinary Ability. If visa candidates have received a major international award like the Nobel Prize, the A. M. Turing Award, an Academy Award or any prize at this level, it should be sufficient evidence. 

If a prestigious award has not been received, at least three other types of Extraordinary Ability evidence must be submitted from the following list:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor,
  • Membership in association of endeavor which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields,
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien and relating to the alien's work in the field of endeavor,
  • Evidence of participation, on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization,
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of endeavor,
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals or other major media,
  • Display of the alien's work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases in more than one country,
  • Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputations,
  • Receiving a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in relation to others,
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by the box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disc, or video sales.

If candidates cannot provide such supporting documentation because those forms of evidence do not readily apply to their occupation, they may submit comparable evidence to establish eligibility in certain circumstances. Please contact our office for more information.

An offer of employment (sponsorship) is required to petition for O-1 visa. The O-1 visa petition has to be made by a US employer on behalf of a prospective employee.

O-1 visa holders may be admitted to the US for an initial period of up to three years, and thereafter can be extended in one-year increments.


Alan Tafapolsky

415 344 3602

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