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O Visa Status

The O-1 temporary worker visa status is designated for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, arts, or athletics and individuals of exceptional achievement in the motion picture and television industries.

The hiring department must provide documentation to prove that the individual's ability has been demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim.

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) decides on whether or not the individual qualifies for the O-1 classification.

O-1 visas are valid initially for up to 3 years. There is the possibility of additional extensions in one-year increments to continue the same work.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify as an individual of extraordinary ability, the department must provide evidence of the applicant's having received a major internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, OR at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field.
  • Membership in associations in the field requires outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized experts in the area.
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, professional journals, or other major media.
  • Published material about the applicant's work in professional or major trade publications or major media.
  • Evidence of participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the field.
  • Evidence in the form of 5 or 6 letters from prominent colleagues who can confirm the applicant's original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance to the field. The case is strengthened by letters from outside of the Idaho State community and outside the U.S.
  • Evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments with a distinguished reputation.
  • Evidence of commanding a high salary or other compensation for services. This category does not usually apply to academic positions.