O-1: Extraordinary Ability
To qualify for O-1 visa status as a foreign national of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts or
education, you will need to provide the following documentation:
1. A copy of your CV or resume.
2. Copies of your diplomas, degrees, certificates, etc. Any document that is not in English should be accompanied by an English translation.
3. Copies of all immigration documentation for you and your dependents including passport, I-94 cards, and former visa classifications.
4. Copies of social security card and driver's license for you and your dependents.
5. A completed O-1 Employer Questionnaire; including, a copy of your contract, salary information, expected start date, dependent information, and required employer information (Please refer to O-1 Employer Questionnaire).
6. Evidence that establishes at least three of the following eight criteria: meeting three of
the evidentiary standards does not compel a finding that the individual possesses extraordinary ability; the quality of the evidence provided, not exclusively the number of criteria that are met, is taken into consideration. Any document that is not in English should be accompanied by an English translation.
a. A nationally or internationally recognized award or prize for excellence in the field: copies of the prize or award certificates or letters indicating receipt of the award AND information about the criteria of the award. Receipt of a competitive fellowship might satisfy this criterion.
b. Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievement of members, as judged by national or international experts in the discipline or field: copies of membership certificates, cards, or letters indicating membership AND information about the criteria for membership. Membership in many professional societies would not qualify but election to fellowship in a professional society would.
c. Published material in professional or major trade publications or other media about you that is related to your work in the field: copies of articles or descriptions of research written by others that analyze or discuss your work and or accomplishments, a formal published review of your work, an audio or video tape of an interview about your work, copies of papers written by others in which your work is EVALUATED (citations of your work without an evaluation of it are not enough to meet this criterion).
d. Service as the judge of the work of others: copies of letters from editors of journals or grant funding agencies requesting that you review a proposal or paper submitted for publication, copies of journal pages or pages of a conference program or proceedings that list reviewers, evidence of service on an editorial board of a professional journal, evidence of membership on a discussion panel or board of a professional society, acknowledgment that you served on the dissertation committee of a Ph.D. candidate.
e. Original scientific, scholarly contributions of major significance in the field: copies of patents or documents acknowledging progress toward a patent, testimony from other scholars on your contributions to the field (letters should follow the format of the sample attached).
f. Publications and presentations: copies of title pages of papers (showing authorship) published or accepted for publication in international or peer-reviewed journals or the proceedings of international or peer-reviewed conferences AND information about the journals and conferences indicating that they are international and/or peer-reviewed. A list of citations of your work in other professional publications is also useful.
g. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations or establishments having a distinguished reputation (National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Institute of Advanced Study, Max Planck Institute, etc.): letter confirming your employment and information about the institution documenting its distinguished reputation.
h. High salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in relation to others in the field: copies of contracts, letters form employers making the offer, and evidence demonstrating that your salary is significantly higher than other experts' salaries within your field.
We encourage you to consult with us for an initial review of your case before requesting letters to be written on your behalf. Letters of support that do not speak to the enumerated criteria for the category are of little or no value. The USCIS (formerly INS) has indicated that letters of support from distinguished persons outside the individual's institution who know his/her work will be given more weight than those from parties whose self-interest would be served by the approval of the petition (faculty members within the department at the institution where the individual received a degree or where the individual is working, personal friends of the individual, etc).
Letters of support should be mailed to your attorney and not the USCIS directly. Letters of support, however, should be addressed to the appropriate USCIS Service.