O-1 Visa Extraordinary Ability

The O category is reserved for:

  • Aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1),
  • the artist’s or athlete’s support staff (O-2), and
  • the O-1’s spouse and/or child(ren) (O-3).

To qualify, the alien must be coming to the U.S. to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement. There is currently no annual cap on O visas.

The O-1 category applies to aliens coming temporarily who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television) .

Petition Document Requirements

A U.S. employer should file the petition ( Form I-129 ) with:

  • A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the aliens area of ability;
  • A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
  • Evidence that the alien has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least three of the following:
    • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized international experts;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the alien and his work in the field for which classification is sought;
    • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
    • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
    • 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;
    • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.