The O-1 Visa is for outstanding individuals. The visa enables people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture or television industry to enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time. The spectrum of eligible individuals in this loosely-defined category also includes chefs, carpenters and lecturers.

The O-1 Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. under O-3 status, but they may not work.

To be considered an outstanding individual, you should be highly regarded in your field, and can only work in the U.S. in that area of expertise. The applicant may be required to provide documentation of a portion of the following:

  • A contract for employment.
  • The petition must include a printed article or statement from either a person or group proficient in your field. This person/group should support your status as a respected member of your field.
  • That the applicant has been the recipient of a major award, such as a Nobel Prize.
  • That the applicant is a member of one of the leading associations in his or her field.
  • That the applicant has done original research in his or her field.
  • Published articles in major trade publications or other media by or about the applicant’s accomplishments in his or her field.
  • “A high salary or other remuneration for services” (USCIS).
  • That the applicant has been invited to judge a competition or take part in a panel discussion.
  • “Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation” (USCIS).