The O-1A is available to persons with an extraordinary ability in sciences, education, business, or athletics.  It allows such foreign nationals to visit the United States temporarily to work in their field of extraordinary ability.

O-1A Visa Requirements

 Individuals of extraordinary ability must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics by

  • Sustained national or international acclaim and

  • must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability

Extraordinary Ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

Evidentiary Requirements

The petition must present evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

  • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence

  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought

  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.

Advisor Opinion

A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability is required for the successful filing of an O-1A petition.

Agents and Agents of Multiple Employers

A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

A petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for the other employers.

O-2 Petitions

An O-2 Alien petition may be filed in conjunction with the O-1A petition for an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to support the O-1A individual of extraordinary ability.  The O-2 petition must establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 beneficiary and that the beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1.

An O-2 petition supporting an individual with extraordinary ability in athletics must include an Advisory Opinion Letter from the appropriate labor organization.

Period of Stay

An O nonimmigrant will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.  USCIS will determine time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity in increments of up to 1 year.

Extensions may be granted in increments of three years.  No maximum limit in O-visa status exists.

Family Members

Dependent Spouses and Children of O-visa nonimmigrants may qualify for O-3 visa status subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the principle.

O-3 visa holders are not work authorized, however they may engage in full time or part time studies.