Skip to main content

Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O-1)

O-1 status is suitable for individuals who have attained national or international acclaim for extraordinary achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Extraordinary ability is defined as a high level of expertise and indicates that the person is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of his/her field. Find eligibility and required documentation.

Visa summary:

  • O-1 Visa-holders must:
    • Possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
    • Be able to provide extensive documentation of sustained national and/or international acclaim; and
    • Seek to enter the United States to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability. However, the position need not require the services of a person of extraordinary ability.
  • Visas can be applied for an initial period of 3 years and may be extended in one-year increments. There is no limit on the number of extensions allowed.
  • Dependents of the O-1 beneficiary hold O-3 status.

*Note: unlike the H-1B category, the Department of Labor is not involved in the O-1 process.

Steps for Host Department

Applying for an O-1 Visa

If you are currently living outside of the United States, an O-1 overseas petition will be prepared. View Instructions for an Initial 0-1 Visa.

Changing O-1 Status

If you are currently living in the United States in a different visa category (such as F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.), then a Change of Status O-1 petition will be prepared.  View Instructions for an Changing Status of an 0-1 Visa.

Extending or Amending an O-1

If you currently hold an O-1 visa, but something is changing such as your host institution, end date, job details or similar, an O-1 extension will be prepared. View Instructions for Extending or Amending an 0-1 Visa.

O-1 Visa Compliance and Travel

It is important that the visa holder maintain their O-1 status by extending/amending your visa if necessary, and by following the visa's compliance requirements. View all visa requirements and restrictions.

Bringing O-1 Dependents (Spouses and Children)

Spouses and children under age 21 will fall in the O-3 visa category. This category carries certain restrictions, such as ineligibility to seek employment. Learn about O-3 visas and find application instructions.