The O-1 visa is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for these achievements. Support personnel who are integral part of the certain O-1 visa holders’ activities, such as artists or athletes, may qualify for O-2 visa to accompany the principal O-1. Extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics is defined as a high level of expertise showing that the individual has risen to the very top of his or her field. Extraordinary ability in the arts is defined as a high level of achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered in the field.

Individuals who are applying for O-1 classification must submit evidence that they have either received a one-time major, internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or that they meet at least three alternative criteria such as receiving lesser awards, enjoying significant recognition among one peers, and published material about the worker, to name a few. O-1 petitions typically require a written advisory opinion (consultation letter) from a recognized peer group or an individual with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability. Some O-1 petitions also require a contract between the U.S. petitioner and the worker, including a projected itinerary. O-1 workers are initially admitted for up to three years and may renew their status in one year increments.