O-1

O-1 Visa Status

O-1 ALIEN OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY

The O-1, for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics, is a nonimmigrant employment-based visa classification. It requires that the employer file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), along with evidence of the alien's extraordinary ability.

An initial O-1 petition can be filed for up to a 3-year maximum employment period. Subsequent extensions may be for no more than one year at a time. There is no limit to the number of such extensions possible. Individuals who are subject to the two year home country residence requirement under previous J-1/J-2 classification, are eligible to apply for the O-1. Such individuals, however, are not eligible for a change to O-1 status within the US, but must apply for the O-1 visa abroad, and re-enter the US in O-1 status. The OISS will file this application for qualified individuals holding academic positions who may not otherwise qualify for H1B Temporary Worker status.

Qualifications:

  1. Employment in an academic position (most academic positions require a Ph.D.) Letter must specify the dates for which work authorization is being requested; no more than three years on initial applications, one year on all subsequent petitions.

  2. A written consultation /advisory opinion from a peer group, or from recognized expert(s), in the field in the alien's area of ability: i.e. letters of support from renowned researchers (as evidenced by their curriculum vitae and publication list) that attest to the qualifications and value of work to be done by the O-1 petitioner.

  3. Evidence that the professor or researcher is recognized nationally and internationally as outstanding in his/her academic field. This evidence should consist of at least three (more than three recommended) of the following:


  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievements in the academic field;
  • Membership in academic associations which require outstanding achievements of their members;
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
  • Citations in professional publications, written by others about the individual's work in the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles, in journals with international circulation, in the field;
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field;
  • Evidence of previous employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations having distinguished reputation (e.g. NSF or Department of Defense research grants);
  • Evidence of high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in relation to others in the field.