O-1 Extraordinary Ability Requirement

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim.

O-1A (science, education, business, athletics)

Extraordinary ability for O-1A applicants means that they must be one of the small percentage at the top of their field.  This can be shown by the following:

1. Receiving a major, internationally-recognized award (i.e. Nobel Prize)

2. Fulfilling 3 of the following:

  • Receive nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards
  • Memberships that require outstanding achievements as judged by experts
  • Publications in professional or major media such as newpapers 
  • Original and major professional contributions
  • Employment in critical role for distinguished organizations
  • Judged the work of others in field
  • High salary in field
  • Author of articles in professional journals or other major media

3. Providing other evidence that shows that applicant is the top in their field


O-1B (motion picture, television)

Extraordinary ability for O-1B applicants means that they have recognition and skill above peers and that they are outstanding or notable. This can be shown by the following:

O-1B (arts)

Extraordinary ability for O-1B applicants means that they must have distinction, defined by having recognition and skill above peers and being renowned, leading, or well-known in their field. This can be shown by the following:

O-1B Requirements

1. Receiving major, national, or international award (i.e. Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, Director Guild Award)

2. Fulfilling 3 of the following:

  • Performed and will perform in a lead role or starring participant in reputable productions or events
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements
  • Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organization, critics, or other experts
  • High salary or other remuneration for services in field

3. Providing other evidence that shows the applicant is the top in their field