O-1 Extraordinary Ability Overview

The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant employment based visa classification. Faculty/scholars who can demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics can apply for them. In most cases, seeking an O-1 visa status is recommended when H-1B or a J-1 visa is not applicable.  It requires the employer to file a 'Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker' (Form I-129), along with a preponderance of evidence that the individual has extraordinary ability. The evidence submitted must demonstrate that the individual is one of a small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

There are two general categories of O-1
  • For sciences, education, business and athletes
  • For the arts

At Yale, we only sponsor the sciences, arts, business and education related fields and individuals need to have academic appointments as a faculty/researcher.

What are the qualifications?
  • Evidence that the applicant is recognized nationally or internationally as extraordinary in their academic field. This evidence must consist of at least three categories of achievements. In addition each piece of evidence must be accompanied by supporting explanations from independent objective sources.
  • Evidence that the employment requires the skills of someone with 'extraordinary ability' as detailed in a faculty support letter and peer group letters.