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O-1 Work Visas Provide Opportunity for Individuals with “Extraordinary Ability”

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Specialized Work Visa Options

When applying for a temporary work visa in the United States, applicants have many options that suit various needs and skill sets. From employees in the entertainment industry to those engaging in a cultural exchange program, choosing the appropriate category for your job can be simple. However, determining whether you fall under the O-1 visa category—as an “individual with extraordinary ability or achievement”—can be a little more complicated to discern. Read on to learn more.

What is an Extraordinary Ability or Achievement?

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), O visas are applicable when an individual has demonstrated an “extraordinary ability” in the fields of:

  • Science
  • Art
  • Education
  • Business
  • Athletics

Applicants may also fall into this category if they have been nationally or internationally recognized for achievement in film or television.

O Visa Classifications

Four primary classifications are available:

  • O-1A: extraordinary ability in one of the above areas (not including arts).
  • O-1B: extraordinary achievement or ability in the arts or film/ television industry.
  • O-2: those who accompany an artist or athlete who holds an O-1.
  • O-3: spouses or children of someone who holds an O-1 or O-2.


To be eligible for an O-1A visa, applicants must show that they have received national or international recognition for their work done in one of the aforementioned areas, proving they are at the top of their field. They must also demonstrate their intention to complete work in their specific area in the United States upon receiving this visa.

To learn whether you are eligible for one of these classifications, contact an immigration attorney to discuss your plans and status.

Nationwide Immigration Attorneys

Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A. is dedicated to “bringing the best to America” by advocating for the rights of those wishing to obtain a work visa or immigrate to the United States. If you need help gathering the information necessary to prove you are eligible for an O-1 visa or other assistance in the application process, schedule a consultation with our film by calling (800) 708-4399.


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