O Visas

O Visas For Individuals With Extraordinary Ability

O visas are reserved for individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, and for individuals with extraordinary achievements in the motion picture industry or the television industry.

The criteria used to determine whether a person is of extraordinary ability depends on which area they are seeking consideration in. To be considered of extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, education or athletics, a person must be at the very highest level of ability. The person must be one of the very few at the very top of their field. The person in this field must display sustained national or international acclaim.

In the arts the term extraordinary ability means that the individual must be a person of distinction. Their skill must be substantially above the norm. The person seeking this classification must display recognized prominence.

In the motion picture and television industries the it is extraordinary achievement and not extraordinary ability that is the standard. The individual in these categories must be significantly above the norm rather than substantially above the norm as in the area of the arts. The standard of proof for those in the motion picture or television industries is greater than for individuals in the arts. The individual in this field must display recognized extraordinary achievement.

Also included in the O classification are those who seek to accompany and assist in the artistic or athletic performances of the primary O applicant. A person seeking to accompany the O applicant must be an integral part of the actual performance and must have critical skills and experience with the O applicant that make their presence necessary. This accompanying group category does not apply to the O classification for those in science, business or education.

Criteria differ concerning the display of extraordinary ability for those in the O classification. In addition, consultation with experts or representative peer organizations might be required. Individuals should consult with an attorney prior to determining whether an O visa is proper for them.