O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement


The O category is set aside for persons of “extraordinary” ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, certain persons accompanying or assisting those individuals, their family members.

To obtain an O-1A visa (individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry), applicants must demonstrate that they possess “a level of expertise indicating that the person apart of the small percentage who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor”.  The O-1 petition must only be accompanied by evidence that the individual is coming to the United States to continue to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability.

To qualify as a member of O-1B nonimmigrants (individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry), the U.S. Immigration Services (USCIS) rules require “distinction”.  “Distinction” means a high level of achievement in the field of arts as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person is described as prominent, leading, or well known in the field of arts.  The rules define the term “art” to include any field of creative activity and, for the present case, include the culinary arts.