O-1 Visa

O-1 classification of non-immigrant visa is granted by the United States to an alien who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

O -1 visas are divided into the following subcategories:

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
  • O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1 to assist in a specific event or performance.
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s



For O-1A:

  • Being a member of an association or organization in your field that requires extraordinary achievement for membership.
  • Having published material in a journal or other media that is distinguished and related to your field.
  • Any scholarly or scientific contributions of significance to your field.
  • Having been the author of any scholarly articles that appear in professional journals in your field.
  • A large salary that indicates your extraordinary ability
  • Having been a judge or panel member critiquing other’s work in your field.
  • Playing a critical role in a distinguished company or organization in your field.

For O-1B:

  • Being a lead performer in a production that has been advertised, reviewed, and publicly released.
  • Having a lead role in an organization or association that has a distinguished reputation.
  • Journals, magazines, newspapers, or other official publications reinforcing your achievement.
  • Proof of having attained commercial success through your title, ranking, reviews, ratings, or other suitable means.
  • Commanding a large salary that demonstrates your achievements.

For O-2:

  • Must be an integral part of the actual performance and have "critical skills and experience" with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by U.S. workers.
  • Must provide evidence of current essentiality, skills and experience of the O-1 beneficiary and evidence of prior experience working with the principal O-1 alien.


The O-1 is initially approved for 3 years or up to the time needed to complete the event and the extensions can be granted at one-year increments thereafter, upon evidence showing that the alien's continued presence would be required to complete the event or activity for which they were admitted.

Once O-1 is approved the alien may thereafter be admitted to the United States up to 10 days before the validity period granted by their status begins and 10 days after the validity period ends.


The spouse and children under the age of 21 can accompany O-1 individual through O-3 nonimmigrant visa, subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the O-1/O-2 nonimmigrant.  They are not legally permitted to work in the United States, but they may engage in full or part time study on O-3 visa.