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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > O-1 Visa > Can You Receive An O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa?

Can You Receive An O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa?


Individuals with extraordinary abilities can come to the United States to work and live. To accomplish this, those individuals must apply for an O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa. For their application to be successful, they must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability and apply for their visa in the proper manner.

 Are You Eligible For An O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa? 

To obtain an O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa, an individual must possess an extraordinary ability that belongs to one of the following categories:

  • Science
  • Education
  • Business
  • Athletics
  • The Arts
  • The Motion Picture Industry
  • The Television Industry

Individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in those first four categories are eligible for what is known as an “O-1A Extraordinary Ability” visa. Individuals who possess an extraordinary ability in the last three categories are eligible for what is known as an “O-1B Extraordinary Ability” visa.

Each one of the seven categories outlined above is quite broad, containing a multitude of fields and professions. For this reason, the United States Customs and Immigration Services is willing to consider applicants who belong to nearly any field/profession within one of the seven listed categories.

No matter the category an applicant possesses an extraordinary ability for, though, they must be able to demonstrate their abilities in a tangible manner. To accomplish this, applicants must have received an internationally recognized award pertaining to their field of endeavor. Or, if an applicant has not received such an award, they must demonstrate their extraordinary ability using a different set of criteria.

For applicants who have not received an internationally recognized award, they must be able to demonstrate at least three of the criteria below:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or international-recognized awards or prizes
  • Memberships in associations that require outstanding achievements
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals
  • Display of work in artistic showcases or exhibitions
  • Performance in a leading or critical role for an organization with a distinguished reputation

Applying For An O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa 

To apply for an O-1 visa, a typical applicant will need to have their U.S. employer sponsor them directly. Doing so allows the applicant’s petition, and its relation to the employer and their business goals, to reach the USCIS.

Even though such an arrangement is typical, any of those who receive an O-1 visa are either self-employed or employed outside of the U.S. Applicants who belong to either of those categories must employ the services of a U.S. agent, so as to file an application.

A valid U.S. agent can be one of the following:

  • A U.S. employee of that individual
  • A representative of both the individual applying to receive the visa and their employer
  • A person or entity authorized by the employer to act as an agent

No matter who files the application, the applicant must authorize the agent to file on their behalf. To go along with that, the application date cannot be more than one-year away from when the applicant’s services are required.

Contact a Houston O-1 Visa Lawyer Today 

Our skill at BBA Immigration lies in our ability to clarify the extraordinary abilities an applicant offers, allowing that individual to receive an O-1 visa. Speak to a dedicated Houston O-1 visa lawyer today to begin putting together an effective O-1 Extraordinary Ability visa petition.




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