• Manuela Muttoni

O-1A/O-1B Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement


The O-1 classification is appropriate for a foreign national who has “extraordinary ability” in his or her field, which may be science, education, business, athletics, arts, or the motion picture and television industries, or “any field of endeavor.”  Importantly, the “provisions of this visa classification are intended to be highly restrictive.”

(i) O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;

(ii) O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in motion picture or television production.

Similar to the H-1B and L-1 visas, the US employer and petitioner should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) with the USCIS.


The standard of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics entails “sustained national or international acclaim,” and a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

The standard of extraordinary ability in the arts is “distinction” and the person must be “recognized as being prominent in the field of endeavor.”

The standard of extraordinary ability for motion picture and television production is “a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement.”

A detailed support letter should be provided.

Status duration: depends on the case, but usually no more than the time necessary to complete a specific event or set of events, or up to 3 years. Renewals are granted in no more than 1 year increments.

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