29 South Webster Street, Suite 370 Naperville,
IL 60540

At Kasturi Law, LLC, our Naperville immigration and nationality law attorney assists foreign nationals from around the globe in pursuing nonimmigrant visas to enter the United States.

That includes those seeking the O-1 visa. The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category reserved for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in their field, whether 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 has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.


Here, our Illinois immigration lawyer outlines the stringent eligibility requirements for an O-1 visa and how we can help applicants pursue approval for nonimmigrant status.

Who is Eligible to Apply for an O-1 Nonimmigrant Visa?

The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:

  • O-1A: Individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures, or television industry).
  • O-1B: Individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
  • O-2: Individuals accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance.
  • O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

To pursue an O-1 nonimmigrant visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, defined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as:

  • Extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics indicates a level of expertise indicating that you are among the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field.
  • Extraordinary ability in the arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the arts, evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that one is prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the arts field.
  • Extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that you are recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the field.

For all O nonimmigrant visas, you must submit evidence you have risen to the top of your field and are recognized for your accomplishments.

This can be evidenced by receiving a major internationally recognized award — like a Nobel Prize — or by meeting at least three of the following criteria:

  • Receipt lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in your field.
  • Membership in associations in your field that require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts.
  • Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or major media.
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others in your field, individually or on a panel.
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in your field.
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or major media.
  • High salary or other remuneration for services in your field, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

In addition:

  • You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, agent, or sponsor who will employ you in your area of extraordinary ability or achievement. If you are self-employed, you must also have contracts or other evidence of work in your field.
  • You must also intend to temporarily come to the United States to work in your extraordinary ability or achievement area.

If you are applying as an individual with extraordinary ability in the arts, you must obtain a consultation from a peer group, such as a labor organization, in your field, confirming your extraordinary ability or achievement.

It’s important to note that the O nonimmigrant visa application process can be complex. You must provide extensive documentation supporting your claim of extraordinary ability or achievement and evidence of your job offer or contracts. We can help ensure your O-1 nonimmigrant visa application is submitted properly the first time, increasing your opportunity for success without delay.

Contact Our Immigration Attorney Today For Consultation

If you have questions or face challenges during the O-1 visa process, contact us today to learn how our Illinois immigration attorney can assist you. We provide in-office, phone, and Zoom consultations to help you understand your legal rights and options so you can make informed decisions about your journey to work in the U.S.