Individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, science, education, business or athletics may qualify for a non-immigrant O-1 work visa. The individual must show a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. The requirements for an O-1 non-immigrant work visa mirror the requirements for EB-1 Extraordinary Ability permanent residency.
To qualify, the individual must be able to provide evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major, international recognized award such as the Nobel Prize), or at least three (3) of the following:
1. Documentation of the alien's receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
2. Documentation of the alien's membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
3. Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien's work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;
4. Evidence of the alien's participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought;
5. Evidence of the alien's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
6. Evidence of the alien's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
7. Evidence of the display of the alien's work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
8. Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
9. Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or
10. Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.
Many individuals approved for the O-1 work visa will also apply for permanent residency through the Extraordinary Ability route.