O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visas

The US O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa program is for those people who have demonstrated an extraordinary caliber in the fields of arts, athletics, sciences, education, business, or the motion picture or television industry. These are the people who have gained international acclaim and are coming to US for discharging their services on a temporary basis. They may also want to visit US in order to assist in an event of artistic performance or an athletic competition. This visa allows the applicant to perform his services only in the field of his/her her extraordinary ability. Sometimes this visa is also used by people who are not eligible for any other visa but still need to visit US for discharging their services.

Eligibility Criterion for O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa:

You have to prove that you possess an extraordinary ability which shall be demonstrated by documentation of three of the following qualifications:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements of their members
  • Publication of material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant’s work
  • Participation on a panel or individually, judging 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
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for an organization that has a distinguished reputation
  • The ability to command a high salary

Once you have proven that you possess the extraordinary ability you will need to prove that you possess an international recognition as well and that your purpose to visit US is temporary. You will also need to prove that there exist a contract between you and the employer who clearly specifies the details of your visit with the purpose that necessarily require your expertise for its completion.

Applying for the O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa:

After the approval that you are eligible for applying for the visa, you will need to contact the US Embassy for the processing of your petition. The petition is to be filed not more than 6 months before the need for services arise. The documents that are needed to be enclosed with the application includes the evidences of awards, international recognition, presentation of articles and critical roles in organizations etc in case of a businessman, scientist and athlete while in the case of an artist and an individual who is exceptional in motion pictures or TV industry, evidence for nomination/receipt of award, exceptional performance, national/international recognitions, media recognitions and commercial successes are needed. One may choose the premium processing procedure which is very quick and fast. One thing to remember is that the applicant can only discharge his services that are approved by the USCIS.

The O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa is granted for a period of three years initially. The applicant can apply for further extension of 1 year with an addition of 10 days for personal reasons or till the date of completion of the projects whichever is earlier.