O-1: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

What is an O-1 Extraordinary Ability Petition and Who qualifies?

O-1 is a nonimmigrant visa for applicants with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, education, business, athletics, the arts, motion picture, and television industries. The two categories of this type of visa are O-1A and O-1B. To qualify for an O-1 visa, the applicant must demonstrate national or international acclaim and intend to continue work in that industry while in the U.S.

O-1A is specifically for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics. For O-1A, “extraordinary ability” requires the applicant to be at the very top of his/her field. The applicant should be able to demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim.

O-1B is specifically for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. For the field of arts, the applicant should be able to demonstrate prominence and acclaim, through degree of skill and recognition.  For the motion picture or television industry, the applicant should be recognized as an outstanding or notable member of their field, through degree of skill and recognition.

Required Documents

It is necessary for the applicant to show that they possess extraordinary ability or achievement in one of the relevant industries and that they intend to continue work in that field while in the United States. Evidence of such ability or achievement includes but is not limited to:

  • Published material in professional journals
  • Published materials citing applicant’s work
  • Published materials written by others about applicant’s work
  • Membership in associations requiring outstanding achievements
  • Major internationally recognized awards
  • Box office receipts or records
  • Participation as a judge of others work in applicant’s field of expertise
  • Major and significant contributions in applicant’s field of expertise
  • Evidence of salary or compensation considered high in relation to others in applicant’s field of expertise
  • Itinerary of events or activities applicant plans to participate in
  • Letter of support or employment contract from employer

A consultation, which is a written advisory opinion from a peer group or expert in applicant’s field of work attesting to the applicant’s extraordinary ability or achievement is also required.

Interesting Fact

There is no limit to renewal of O-1 status; as long as the applicant is needed in the U.S., they may renew indefinitely.  O-1 may be an option for those who have been in the U.S. on J-1 status as this particular visa category allows them to forego the 2-year foreign residency requirement.

Attorney Role

To avoid delays, it is imperative to submit an application that is properly documented. Knowledge of what USCIS expects in a strong application is important. An experienced attorney will best be able to ensure that all evidence presented is sufficient and convincing.

Contact Us

To discuss O-1 petitions and other types of employment based petitions with an experienced immigration attorney from the American Visa Law Group, feel free click the contact us tab and fill out the inquiry form or call us at 510-500-1155.