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925-831-0636

​​Hyden Zakheim, LLP


Providing effective representation locally, since 1991.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is for foreign nationals who have an “extraordinary ability” in the science, art, education, business or athletic field. This includes anything from architects, scientists, make-up artists, choreographers, coaches and more.

O-1 visa applicants must first demonstrate their “extraordinary ability” to the USCIS. “Extraordinary ability” can be proven through awards, affirmations, memberships or other recognition demonstrating international acclaim. In most cases the applicant must demonstrate at least three of the following:


  • Internationally or nationally recognized prizes or awards;

  • Published material about your work;

  • Membership in an association that requires members to have outstanding achievement;

  • Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;

  • Authorship of scholarly articles published in any type of major media or professional journals;

  • High salary or any other type of compensation;

  • Participation on a panel, or as a judge for other’s works;

  • Evidence of past employment for organizations or establishments that have a high reputation.


If the applicant has extraordinary ability in the arts, motion picture, television or music, the applicant must demonstrate at least three of the following:


  • Lead or starring role for productions or events with distinguished reputations;

  • National or International recognition demonstrated by published material about your work;

  • Lead, starring, or critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputation;

  • Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success;

  • Significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field;

  • High salary in relation to others in the field.


The O applicant must be coming to the US to perform services related to his or her extraordinary ability. Finally, the application must be petitioned by a US party and cannot be filed by the foreign national applicant himself. A contract between the foreign applicant and the US petitioning employer must be produced along with a schedule of projects or performances.