The O-1 Visa is for outstanding individuals. The visa enables people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, motion picture or television industry to enter the US for temporary periods of time. USCIS loosly defines this category, and the spectrum of eligible individuals also includes chefs, carpenters and lecturers. To be considered an outstanding individual, you should be highly regarded in your field, and can only work in the U.S. in that area of expertise.

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the US under O-3 status. While they may not work while in the U.S., family members are allowed to attend school.



The O-1 Visa must be petitioned by a U.S. employer, U.S. agent or foreign employer through a U.S. agent. Your petitioner should file the Form I-129 with the USCIS having jurisdiction over the state in which you intend to work. The form should be filed at least six months before you plan to begin working. The petition must include a printed article or statement from either a person or group proficient in your field. This person/group should support your status as a respected member of your field.



Applicants must provide the following documents:

  • A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  • One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.

Your petitioner must also include the following documents:

  • Your resume/CV and educational history. Proof of your eligibility. Evidence that proves you have received recognition or awards in your field.
  • Printed documents by previous employers or experts in your field that show your level of achievement in your field.
  • Employer financial information.
  • A letter from your employer detailing the work you intend to perform while in the US
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