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Individuals (professors and researchers) of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics may be awarded 0-1 visa status. These individuals represent a small percentage who have risen to the top of their field of work and who are in the United States on a temporary basis to work in these fields. Our office will determine if O-1 is an appropriate classification and whether the foreign national has evidence to support a non-frivolous petition. This is an employment-based category that requires an offer of employment. Because it is employer-specific, the O-1 visa holder may only work for the employer that petitioned USCIS for his or her O-1 visa status.

Documentation Required

In addition to the checklist Immigration Affairs will send through Tracker, the employee should be prepared to provide the following as evidence of his/her extraordinary ability. The employee must present evidence to show that he is in receipt of a major internationally recognized award OR at least three of the criteria listed below.  Evidence should be provided in duplicate hard copy to Immigration Affairs:

  • Receipt of a nationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in the field of work;
  • Membership in an association in the academic field which requires outstanding achievements of their members – no open memberships;
  • Published material in a professional or trade publication newspaper or other major media about the beneficiary and his/her work in the field;
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
  • Original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance in the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in scholarly journals or other major media in the academic field;
  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.

Evidence may be supported by letters from experts in the field attesting to the reputation and achievements of the foreign national. This form of evidence can support and strengthen the O-1 petition.

Duration of Stay

The initial period for an O-1 visa is three years with one-year extensions thereafter.