O Visas

An individual who has received sustained national or international acclaim, and who has “extraordinary ability” in either the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; or an individual who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, may be the beneficiary of an O-1 petition filed by a U.S. employer, or if appropriate to the field, an agent who will substitute for a specific employer. O-2 status may be obtained by “essential support” personnel of O-1 foreign nationals. Family members may come to the U.S. in O-3 status.

Basic Requirements

It is not necessary to have won the Nobel Prize or an Olympic gold medal to secure an O-1 visa. In reality, a demonstration of any combination of at least three of the following criteria may qualify as being “extraordinary”:

  • You have received nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • You belong to an organization requiring outstanding achievements of its members
  • Your work has been published in or featured by major trade publications, professional journals, or major media outlets
  • You have engaged in professional review or judging of the work of your peers in the same or a related field of specialization
  • You have made major or significant and original scientific, scholarly, or business related contributions
  • You have worked in a leading or an essential capacity for a distinguished organization
  • Your skills command a high salary.

Evidence Required

In addition to meeting at least three of the above requirements, you should be prepared to provide evidence that the beneficiary of the O-1 petition has received “sustained” national or international acclaim, and that he/she has in fact risen to be among the very top of the field of endeavor.


An O-1 petition is filed with USCIS and upon approval the U.S. Consulate abroad is notified so that the beneficiary may obtain an O-1 visa and enter the U.S.

Sample Case

X is a post-doctoral research scientist who clearly qualifies for H-1B status but at the time Company A wants to hire X, there are no H-1B visas available. Fortunately X has made some original contributions to his field that are of major significance and has experts who confirm this fact, as well as also documentation to show that companies have adopted his seminal protocols into their own standard operating procedures; he has published many articles which have been cited by other scientists numerous times; and he has been asked to be a referee of other people’s publications by several different professional journals. The evidence is spread out over several years so there is sustained international acclaim. Four weeks after giving our office the evidence, the beneficiary has an O-1 visa and is working in the U.S.