Hussain, Bendersky & Liston LLC

350 N. Clark St. 

Suite 600

Chicago, IL 60654


The O-1 Visa is tailored specifically for those who are recognized either nationally or internationally as experts in their field. Qualifying as an expert means that you can demonstrate a high degree of acheivement that is uncommon for individuals in your field. They may be experts in the sciences, business, athletics, arts (including television and cinema), or education. What is important for this category is proving that you indeed possess extraordinary ability.


As with other nonimmigrant visas, the O-1 category is applied for by someone other than the foreign worker, who is the beneficiary. Petitioners for the O-1 may be representatives of a company or organization which will employ the beneficiary, or an agent who will represent the beneficiary.


The O-1A visa is meant for extraordinary individuals in the sciences, education, business and athletics. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service lists what constitutes evidentiary support for extraordinary ability in any of these categories.The foreign worker, or beneficiary of the O-1 visa, must either have recieved a major internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or present at least three of the following: 


  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

  • Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

  • A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence

  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought

  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

If any of these criteria do not apply to the beneficiary's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.


The O-1B visa is meant for extraordinary individuals in the arts, television, or cinema. Similar to the O-1A, these individuals could have won a major award, such as an Acadamy Award or Grammy, or fulfill three of the following criteria:


  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements

  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications

  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.

  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications

  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements

  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence.


All O-1 beneficiaries may have an initial approval period for up to three years. However, approval can be less than this maximum if USCIS determines that the length of time required to perform the job the beneficiary is here for takes less than three years to complete.


Extensions are available for O-1 beneficiaries in one year increments. Petitioners must demonstrate that the job is ongoing and that the beneficary still want to remain in the U.S. on a temporary basis, meaning they have not yet filed for a permanent immigrant visa or to adjust their status. 









O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

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