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O-1A Visa: Scientists, Athletes, Business, and Educators

To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

This petition requires a beneficiary to submit evidence that he/she has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility.

Contract Between Petitioner & Beneficiary

In addition, the O-1 regulations require an offer of employment by a petitioner who is willing to “sponsor” the beneficiary for the O-1 visa.

We typically show this in the form of a copy of any written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary, or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed.

NOTE: USCIS will accept an oral contract, as evidenced by the summation of the elements of the oral agreement. Such evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the contractual parties, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence which demonstrates that an oral agreement was created.

The summary of the terms of the oral agreement must contain:

Itinerary Requirement

The petitioner must establish that there are actual events or activities in the beneficiary’s field lined up for the validity period requested. In other words, an applicant cannot obtain an O-1 visa to “look” for jobs – it must be shown that a U.S. employer or agent has specific work events lined up over the period of time requested for the O-1 visa (up to three years). The itinerary must include an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, the location of the events, etc.

Consultation Requirement

The beneficiary must submit a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.

If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist, the decision will be based on the evidence of record.


A U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

NOTE: A petitioner who will be filing as an agent for multiple employers must establish that it is duly authorized to act as an agent for the other employers. Additionally, agents filing I-129 Petitions for multiple employers must include with the Petition:

Please contact our office for further information if you think this may be an option of interest to you.


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