Office of International Student & Scholar Services

O-1 Visa

O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Pursuing an O-1 visa status is only recommended when J-1 or H-1B visas are not feasible.  A sponsoring department must initiate the O-1 process and request the CISP office to review and determine eligibility.  Pursuing the O-1 visa depends on the individual’s achievement and whether they meet the USCIS criteria. 

For general Eligibility Requirements, Application Process, Period of Stay/Extension of Stay and dependents of O-1 please click here, and for USCIS Policy Manual please click here.

O-1A Beneficiaries in Sciences, Education, Business, or Athletics

In support of an O-1A Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), the petitioner must establish that the beneficiary:

  • Has extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim;
  • Has achievements that have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; and
  • Is coming to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

The supporting documentation for an O-1A petition must include evidence that the beneficiary has received a major internationally recognized award (such as the Nobel Prize) or at least three of the following forms of evidence:

  • Recipient of Prizes: Documentation of the beneficiary's receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  • Outstanding Memberships: Documentation of the beneficiary's membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
  • Published Material Written by Others: Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the beneficiary, relating to the beneficiary's work in the field for which classification is sought, which must include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
  • Judge of Others: Evidence of the beneficiary's participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;
  • Original Scholarly Research Contribution: Evidence of the beneficiary's original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  • Authorship: Evidence of the beneficiary's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
  • Essential/Critical Employment Status: Evidence that the beneficiary has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
  • High Salary: Evidence that the beneficiary has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
Last Updated: 6/21/22