O-1 Information

The O-1 classification is a type of employment visa under United States immigration law that applies to aliens who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and who are coming temporarily to the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

The term “O-1” refers to 8 U.S.C. § 1101(O)(i) (also known as Section 101(O)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), which provides for the admission of “aliens of extraordinary ability” in the stated fields. Spouses and dependent children of O-1 visa holders do not receive the status, but instead qualify for O-3 visas.

Generally, to qualify for O-1 classification, aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing evidence of:

  • Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or at least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Documentation of the alien’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
    • Evidence of the alien’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;
    • Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
    • Evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    • Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.


Please contact Paul Collier in ISSS with any case-specific questions you may have.