Extraordinary Ability
or O1 Visa

US Visa For Individuals with Achievement or Extraordinary Ability

The US welcomes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capabilities in fields of art, science, business, education, and athletics. The disciplines of achievement/ability are not only confined to these fields but also include the picture and motion industry.

US offers Extraordinary Ability permanent resident cards (EB1-1) to people who wish to secure permanent residency in the US but for temporary migrators, there are a few non-immigrant options.

O-1 US Visa

The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for a person who has the unparalleled capacity in sciences, arts, education, business, or sports, or who has shown a record of remarkable accomplishment in the movie or media business and has been perceived broadly or globally for those accomplishments.

The O-1 visa is further categorized into two parts, depending upon the fields of expertise of the person.

  • The O-1A visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the field of science, -education, business, or athletics only.
  • The O-2A visa covers fields of arts, motion picture, and television industry.

Moreover, if you have achieved distinguished awards or honors, your visa application could be filed under the O-1 category.

You can establish your distinguished status in a field if you possess the following:

  • A well-renowned international honor, for example, a Nobel Prize or Olympic medal, an Oscar or Grammy
  • An outstanding honor that is broadly or globally recognized
  • Enrollment or lead role in a prestigious association identified with your field of expertise
  • Acknowledgments for your publications
  • Insightful articles composed for your field
  • Sitting as a judge or on a board of judges for your field
  • A lead and/or featured role in an outstanding organization in the field of art
  • Audits, reviews, publications, or different news that demonstrates your business achievement
  • Commanding a good remuneration
  • Acknowledgment for your accomplishments from respectable associations in your field
  • Other noteworthy commitments to your field

What Is Required to Apply For The O-1 Visa?

The application/extension process for an O-1 visa is simple. You need to have a US company or agent to sponsor your petition. The application can be filled either in person or online. Additionally, you to prove your qualifications under the INA to a US consular official. To prove your qualification, you need proofs of the following:

  • -Declaration of your purpose to visit the US
  • -Time-period for your visit
  • -Declaration for sufficient funding for you US stay
  • – Declaration that you have a residence outside the US and you will return to that residence at the end of your US stay
  • – Statements and proofs of your exceptional abilities and awards

After this, you need to submit the application and go through an interview and other procedures to finally get your visa. Click here for the general application process for non-immigrant visas.

Restrictions on O-1 visas:

O-1 visas cannot be self-petitioned. You must be exceptional in your field to apply and your visit to the US must be related for work in that same field.

How to Apply For O-1 Visa?

Besides fulfilling the general requirements for your O-1 application, you will need the following:


  • You need to obtain written advisory opinions from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in your area of expertise, as evidence of your work. If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in television or motion picture, the consultation must come from a management organization or appropriate labor union with experience and expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
  • The supporting documents required in the O-1 visa process might include a thorough explanation of the itinerary of the events or performances you are looking for in the US, thus establishing the period of stay you are applying for.
  • In case a US agent is performing the function of an employer, you need to declare the terms of the oral/written agreement between the agent and you, wages offered, itinerary details, etc. to the USCIS for approval of the petition.

What After You Get The O-1 Visa?

You can apply for an immigrant visa after securing an O-1 visa. Changing the status of a nonimmigrant O-1 visa to an immigrant EB1-1 visa is hassle-free. You do not have to apply for a labor certification to change the status of an O-1 visa.

The initial duration of the O-1 visa is three years but it can be extended infinitely. For the extension, a valid reason for an extension has to be demonstrated to the USCIS.

If you are an O-1 visa holder, your dependents can join you on the travel to the US by applying for the O-3 non-immigrant visa of the same period of travel as yours. However, they will not be allowed to work in the US but might be allowed to study part-time or full-time.