All You Need to Know About the O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities

Getting help with your O-1 Visa

One of the less known visa types for entering and working in the US is the O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities. Although its name sounds like something from the X-Men movie, this visa is actually for highly talented workers and students from around the world. In this blog post, we will explain how you can qualify for the O-1 visa and how your application can be successful.

What Does \”Extraordinary Ability\” Actually Mean?

In everyday terms, \”extraordinary ability\” could mean anything. But, in the context of the O-1 visa, this refers to four main criteria that define whether a person should be admitted to the US on this visa. These criteria are:

  • The person has a particularly high level of skill or ability in their field.
  • The person has a high level of training that is significantly above average in their area of specialty.
  • The person is recognized for their accomplishments within their area of specialty.
  • The applicant is a pioneer or leader in their field.

Entry Requirements for the O-1 Visa

If a person meets these criteria, they still need to meet other entry requirements to qualify for the visa. These are split into two categories—O-1A and O-1B. 



O-1A refers to anyone who has extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or sport. Examples include elite sports players, pioneering scientists, or highly successful business owners. Ways to prove qualification for this visa include the recipient of international awards, membership in national associations, published articles and literary works, participation as a judge in panels, and high earnings as a result of their accomplishments.

O-1B visas are specifically for people with exceptional skills in art, film, and television. To qualify for them, the applicant should have received or have been nominated for national or international prizes. Also, they should have received critical acclaim for their contribution to the industry by recognized experts. 

Applying for an O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities

If an applicant is successful in their application for the O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities, they will be provided with a visa of up to three years. The visa can then be renewed yearly an unlimited number of times. 

Applications require applicants to submit an advisory opinion that is usually issued by a US trade association or professional organization. This certifies that the applicant meets the requirements. The applicant can then fill in the O-1 visa application form with the USCIS. If they have spouses or children under 21 years of age, they can also apply for an O-3 visa that allows them to stay in the US for the period that the O-1 visa is valid. 

Getting help with your O-1 Visa



The O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Abilities is highly competitive and very difficult to obtain. The main reason for this is proving that an individual meets all the requirements necessary to move on to the second stage of the application. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that anyone looking to apply for the O-1 visa acquires the services of a highly qualified and experienced immigration lawyer. Here at Voloshen Law Firm, our experienced team of professional immigration lawyers knows exactly how to navigate the complex world of the O-1 visa. Give us a call and start your application for the O-1 visa today!


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