Immigration Services

Immigration Services

Temporary Work Visas

O-1 Nonimmigrant Visa for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Education, Business or Athletics

In order to qualify in the O-1 category, you must demonstrate “sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements” and that you have risen to the top of your field.

Sustained acclaim can be demonstrated through either evidence of a one-time achievement (a major, internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize), or through evidence of at least three (3) of the following regulatory criteria:
  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
  • Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts.
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about you, relating to your work in the field.
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field.
  • Original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance.
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media.
  • Evidence that you have been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
  • Evidence that you have either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services.

As part of the process, the law also mandates that a consultation letter from a relevant union or management group be submitted. If no such unions exist in your field, you may obtain a letter from a professional association, relevant to your field, confirming your sustained national or international acclaim.

O-1 visas can be granted for an initial period of up to three (3) years and can be extended indefinitely in one-year increments. There is no limit on how many extensions you can get, as long as you continue to have a sponsoring employer. The O-1 is an "employer-specific" visa, which allows you to work only for your sponsoring employer.

Spouses and children of O-1 holders will be classified as O-3 "dependents." Holders of O-3 status are not entitled to work in the United States.

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