O-1 Visa Qualifications

O-1 visas are available to applicants with proven extraordinary ability in the: sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Proven extraordinary ability means you must have sustained national or international acclaim, or if you work in motion pictures or television productions, you must have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement

O-1 Visa Requirements

Under the O-1 visa categories, there are requirements for two separate categories, either under:

  • Extraordinary Ability in Business, Science, Education, or
  • Athletics, or Extraordinary Ability in Arts and for Entertainers in General.
  1. Extraordinary Ability in Business, Science, Education or Athletics
    1. Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; OR
    2. At least three (3) of the following eight (8) categories:
      1. prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor [nationally or internationally recognized];
      2. membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
      3. published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant, relating to the applicant’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
      4. judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization via participation on a panel, or individually;
      5. contributions of major significance in the field, original scientific, scholarly, or business-related;
      6. authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
      7. organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation, employed in a critical or essential capacity by;
      8. high salary or other remuneration for services, has commanded or will command, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
  2. Extraordinary Ability for Artists and Entertainers in General
    1. Receipt of, or nomination for, a significant national or international award or prize, such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award, OR
    2. At least three (3) of the following six (6) categories:
      1. performed or will perform as a lead/starring participant in productions/events with distinguished reputations as show by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
      2. national/international recognition for achievements through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major papers, trade journals, magazines, etc.;
      3. performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;
      4. record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
      5. achievement of significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, and/or recognized experts;
      6. commanded, or will command, a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.

O-1 Visa Benefits

O-1 visas are typically issued quickly.
You may travel in and out of the U.S. as long as your visa stamp and status are valid.
Visas are available for immediate family members (spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age).

O-1 Visa Restrictions

You may work only for the employer that sponsored you. If you change jobs, you must obtain a new visa.
Immediate family members are allowed to stay in the U.S. with you, but cannot work.

Validity of an O-1 Visa

The validity of an O-1 Visa depends on the duration of the event, production, or activity. The duration can range from short stopovers to a multi-year business or scientific project.

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For more information on how to apply for a Temporary Worker Visa, or for assistance with other immigration or employment-based immigration visas, please complete our Client Questionnaire.