FAQ: For Persons of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Education, Business, or Sports, What Are the Basic Requirements for Getting O-1 Status?

The O-1 category is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability. Meanwhile the O-1A category is for such individuals in the sciences, education, business, and athletics. USCIS rules say that only a person who is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of his or her fieldof endeavor qualify for inclusion into this O-1A category.

A foreign national, to qualify for O-1A status, must provide evidence of:

(A) Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize;


(B) At least three of these forms of documentation:

  • Documentation of the alien’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  • Documentation of the alien’s 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;
  • Evidence of the alien’s 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;
  • Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  • Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
  • Evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments with a distinguished reputation;
  • Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.