What is the O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability?

The O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability is one of several short-term work visas available for individuals with specialized skills or recognitions. The purpose for the O-1 visa is…

The O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability is one of several short-term work visas available for individuals with specialized skills or recognitions. The purpose for the O-1 visa is so extraordinary individuals may work in the U.S. during special events. To apply for an O-1 visa, your U.S. employer must file a Form I-129 application on your behalf. The O-1 visa is broken in to two different categories:

  • O-1A- sciences, education, athletics, and business
  • O-1B- arts, motion pictures, and television

O-1 visas usually last for the length of the particular event, with a maximum time period of three years. However, you may request an extension if needed.

Do I Qualify for an O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa is pretty limited. In order to qualify, you must have been recognized nationally or internationally in your particular field or be able to show that you have extraordinary ability in your area. An example would be receiving a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award for your accomplishments.

O-1A Visa Eligibility

To demonstrate that you have extraordinary ability for the O-1A visa, you must show that at least three of the following apply to you:

  • Received a major national or international award in your area of expertise
  • Membership in an association that recognizes extraordinary achievements
  • A major publication or media discussed your work
  • Innovative scientific, scholarly, or business-related contribution to your field
  • Publication in professional or scholarly journal
  • Evaluated the works of others in your field
  • Receives a high salary
  • Employment in an vital position of a distinguished organization

O-1B Visa Eligibility

If you would like to apply for an O-1B visa, you must demonstrate at least three of the following apply to you:

  • Performance in a distinguished event
  • Received a national or international recognition for your achievements
  • Performed a major role in a distinguished organization
  • Evidence of major occupational successes
  • Receives a high salary
  • Acknowledgement from a recognized organization or government agency in your field
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