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O-1-Extraordinary Ability

People coming on O-1 Visas include extraordinarily talented and nationally or internationally known physicians, scientists, educators, artists, athletes or business people.

These individuals must have “extraordinary ability” in their field of expertise. Such ability must be extensively documented and substantiated through articles published, awards won, media attention received, association with other renowned experts in the same field, and/or innovation or major contributions in the specific field of expertise among other forms of proof. National and/or international acclaim of the individual is important in establishing extraordinary ability.

Individuals applying for an O-1 Visa must provide substantial documentation demonstrating that they truly are extraordinary in their area of expertise. Individuals seeking this visa must have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor and are considered to be in the top echelon. The …employer must demonstrate the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability along with the need for the individual’s services.

Do You Qualify for an O-1, Extraordinary Ability Visa?

Evidence of extraordinary ability typically include the following:

  • receipt of prizes/awards at national/international level by the beneficiary in field of expertise;
  • membership in associations that have selective criteria relevant to the field of expertise;
  • published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the individual;
  • judging the work of others in the same field, such as peer review, judging a competition etc.;
  • innovations or original contributions of major significance in the field of expertise;
  • authorship of articles in professional journals or other major media; and /or
  • …employment in an essential capacity in organizations with a distinguished reputation.v

Please note that it is not necessary to have documentation corresponding to all of the above – evidence in only three of the above categories is usually necessary.

O-1 visas are granted initially for up to three years, and are renewable for additional one-year increments.