O-1/O-2 Visa-Extraordinary Ability and Their Families

O-1A/O-1B Visas for Aliens with Extraordinary Ability in Art, Sciences and Motion Picture or TV Production

O-1A Visa

To qualify for this nonimmigrant visa, the alien must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, arts or entertainment.

Scientists, educators, business persons and athletes must have extraordinary ability which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.  The alien must prove extraordinary ability by providing evidence of either the receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize - though insufficient on their own, nominations and placements should also be noted - or documentation of at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence in the field;
  • Membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien;
  • Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media Current or previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or,
  • Past or proffered high salary or other remuneration for services evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Artists and entertainers, other than those affiliated with motion picture or television productions, may also qualify for the O-1 nonimmigrant visa.  The alien must seek to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. The alien must demonstrate the receipt or the nomination for a significant national or international award or prize, such as an Academy Award, or have evidence that the alien meets at least three of the following:

  • Has performed/will perform services as a lead/starring participant in productions/events with distinguished reputations as shown by critical reviews, ads, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  • National/international recognition for achievements through critical reviews, other published materials by or about the alien in major papers, trade journals/magazines, etc.;
  • Has performed in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by media articles, testimonials, etc.;
  • Has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;
  • Has achieved significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies, recognized experts; or,
  • Has commanded or will command a high salary/other remuneration in relation to others in the field.


With regard to motion picture and television productions, the alien must demonstrate, through extensive documentation, a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading in the motion picture or television field.  The alien must also seek to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.


The spouse and dependents of O-1 visa holders may be admitted under the O-3 status and any alien that accompanies the O-1 visa holder to assist them may qualify for admission under the O-2 visa status.