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O-1

Individuals with Extraordinary Ability

O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability

O-1 Status is an employment-based non-immigrant classification for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. O-1 petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent, or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent on behalf of the beneficiary. There are several different types of visas in the O category:

O-1A: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.


O-1B: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or the extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.

O-1A Eligibility

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award such as Nobel’s Price, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

01. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.


02. Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field.


03. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought.


04. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.


05. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought.


06. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.


07. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought.


08. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

O-1B Eligibility

Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts Evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Grammy or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

01. Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements.


02. Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.


03. Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.


04. A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications.


05. Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements.


06. A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can one maintain O-1 status?

The length of the status is determined by the length of time needed for the alien to perform his duties or activities. Usually, an initial stay is granted up to 3 years, provided the petition can establish that the O-1 alien will need this much time for the proposed employment. This period may be extended at one-year increments thereafter, upon evidence showing that the alien's continued presence would be required.

May the O-1 visa holder have dual intent?

No. O-1 is not one of the dual-intent visas such as H-1B or L-1. However, the approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of an immigrant preference petition is not a basis for denying O status. So filing I-140 or I-485 alone should not prohibit one from obtaining O-1 visa. But after filing I-485, one should not travel internationally on O-1.