The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant temporary work visa available to foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The foreign national’s ability must have received sustained national or international acclaim for his or her achievements.
To obtain an O-1 visa to work in the sciences, education, business or athletics, you must demonstrate that you possess a high level of expertise within your profession and are part of a small percentage of individuals who have risen to the top of their field.
Extraordinary Ability in Science, Education, Business or Athletics
There are two ways you can demonstrate the level of expertise required to be eligible for an O-1 visa:
1. If you have received a major internationally recognized award for your expertise in a certain area, such as a Nobel Prize, you most certainly have the level of expertise in your field to qualify you for an O-1 visa.
2. The more common way to demonstrate that you are among the top in your field is by providing documentation in three of the following eight categories:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in your field
- Membership in associations within your field that require their members to have outstanding achievements within their area of expertise
- Published materials of your professional accomplishments
- Participation as a judge of the work of others in your field or allied fields
- Evidence of original contributions of significance to your field
- Authorship of scholarly articles
- Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations with a distinguished reputation
- Evidence that you have or will command a high salary
- Documentation Evidencing your Widely Known Status within Your Field
- Comparable evidence that does not fit within the above categories may also be submitted.
Extraordinary Ability in the Arts
- Extraordinary ability in the arts means that the foreign national has attained distinction. Distinction is defined as a high level of achievement in the field of arts evidence by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. Distinction has also been defined as prominence in the field of endeavor. The applicant can demonstrate distinction by being the nominee or recipient of an important national or international prize, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or by submitting documentation in at least three of the following eight categories:
- Evidence that the foreign national has performed, and will perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements.
- Evidence that the foreign national has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.
- Evidence that the foreign national has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
- Evidence that the foreign national has a record or major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion pictures or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications.
- Evidence that the foreign national has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the filed in which the foreign national is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form that clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the foreign national’s achievements.
- Evidence that the foreign national has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidence by contracts or other reliable evidence.
- Comparable evidence may also be submitted.
Extraordinary Achievement in Television or Motion Pictures
The same criteria that is used to determine extraordinary achievement in the arts is also used to determine extraordinary achievement for those in the Television/Motion Picture industry. However, the evidence is weighed differently and the applicant does not have to meet as high a standard.
To learn more about the O-1 visa, feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-993-9971.
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