O-1 Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 classification is reserved for individuals who can demonstrate that they possess an extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics. To qualify, the applicant must show that he/she possesses a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation
  • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media
  • Employed in a critical or essential capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputation
  • Has commanded or will command a high salary in relation to others in the field



USCIS requires a written consultation from an appropriate U.S. peer group, labor and/or management organization. We generally recommend that this opinion letter be authored by a representative with the appropriate peer or professional group, or, in the alternative by an expert in the beneficiary’s field. If there is no appropriate peer group for the beneficiary’s field, then this opinion letter may be authored by someone within the company who can speak with authority on the nature of the project and articulate the company’s need for someone of your extraordinary ability to work on this project.

Recommendation Letters

We advise that letters from professional colleagues should be submitted to support that the applicant possesses exceptional ability and are excellent tools to convey the applicant’s significant contributions to his/her field of expertise. Approximately 3 to 4 letters are generally appropriate; however, the emphasis should be on substance in the letters rather than quantity. Please refer to our sample letter and confer with your attorney for additional details.

Other Evidence

This will depend under which 3 requirements the applicant qualifies. Since each application is unique to the individual, you and your attorney will strategize on the types of supporting evidence but we generally suggest conference presentations, conference programs where the individual has presented, business publications, peer review articles, copies of services contracts showing high remuneration, patents.