O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

The O-1 visa is indeed a specialized visa for individuals of extraordinary ability. Here’s a breakdown of the key points for those considering this path:

Definition of Extraordinary Ability

  • Sciences, Education, Business, or Athletics: This typically means being one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field.
  • Arts: Extraordinary ability in the arts means distinction. The artist must be renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
  • Motion Picture or Television Industry: The individual must demonstrate a record of extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered.

Application Process

  • Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability: You must provide extensive documentation to demonstrate your extraordinary ability, such as awards, significant achievements, publications, and endorsements from experts in the field.
  • Intent to Work in the Field of Expertise: The visa applicant must intend to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability in the United States.
  • Advisory Opinion: A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.
  • Agent as Petitioner: In some cases, an agent may file the petition for the beneficiary if the work will involve multiple employers.

Additional Points

For Assistants (O-2 Visa): Individuals who are essential and will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete because of their integral part in the actual performance and have critical skills and experience with the O-1 visa holder that are not of a general nature and cannot be performed by other individuals.

For J-1 Visa Holders: Those who are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement may be able to obtain an O-1 visa. However, they may still need to fulfill the J-1 waiver or residency requirement separately.

Duration and Extensions

  • Initial Period of Stay: Up to 3 years, depending on the time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity.
  • Extensions: Increments of up to 1 year to continue or complete the same event or activity.

Family Members

  • Spouses and minor children (under 21) may be eligible for O-3 visas but are not allowed to work in the U.S.

Transitioning from J-1 to O-1 Visa

  • The O-1 visa can be a route for those in J-1 status who are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement if they can obtain a waiver or fulfill this requirement by other means.

Applying for an O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa requires detailed documentation and strong evidence of one’s extraordinary abilities. If you’re considering applying for an O-1 visa, you can contact is to assist you:

Source: USCIS Website


Dear Mr. Ahluwalia, I would like to thank you for all your help with Dr. xxx case. She and I were very impressed with your services and the professionalism that you showed both of us. I am referring you to a very good friend of mine who is opening a manufacturing plant and wants to bring his brother in as a partner/investor/employee from Italy. I am forwarding your information for xxxx to contact you and make arrangements accordingly. Thank you for all your help.

Dr. F.

Inderjit, thank you so very much. I sincerely appreciate all the effort you took to get this approved and your incredible patience. As xxx mentioned, we will only work with you for all our future H1's. Thanks once again.


Inderjit handled our immigration matter in reference to my parents. We approached him and found him extremely pleasant to work with. In addition to his knowledge of the law, he guided us very well throughout the process. I would recommend him very strongly to anyone in matter of immigration.

Ajay (Avvo Reviewer)


Fill out the contact form or call us at 408.981.7696 to schedule your consultation.