This category is available to foreign nationals who have achieved a high level of expertise in their own field of studies in science, art, education, business, or athletics and has risen to the very top in their field. Foreign national’s achievements in the field must be recognized through extensive documentation and the foreign national must seek entry to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability and must demonstrate that entry will substantially benefit the U.S.
The O-1 visa was established by Section 101(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and allows persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, and athletics to enter the U.S. under nonimmigrant O-1 status. Persons in the television or motion picture industry may also qualify if they can show that their work has brought them national or international recognition. In order to qualify, the person must provide evidence to substantiate their extraordinary ability or achievement.
The O-1 visa consists of two categories: the O-1A visa and the O-1B visa. The O-1A visa is designed for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in the athletics, business, education, or sciences, whereas the O-1B visa is designed for individuals that possess extraordinary ability or achievement in the arts or television and film industry.
In the fields of athletics, business, education, and science, extraordinary ability refers to a great level of expertise, in which the applicant falls within the top few percent of individuals in their respective field.
In the fields of arts, extraordinary ability refers to distinction. The applicant must show that they have a much greater level of skill and recognition than the majority of individuals in their respective field, indicating that they can be described as a leading or prominent individual in the arts.
n the field of the television and film industry, extraordinary ability refers to a skill or recognition that far exceeds that normally found in the industry. The person must be described as outstanding, notable, or a leader in their field.
In order to be considered for an O-1A visa, the person of extraordinary ability must be able to provide evidence that they have received an internationally acclaimed award, such as a Nobel Prize or Olympic Gold Medal, or the person of extraordinary ability must provide three of the following:
The petitioner may submit other evidence to substantiate the claim of extraordinary ability if the above criteria do not readily apply to the field of expertise.