The United States has an interest in attracting the brightest and most accomplished to its country and the main visa category that allows these extraordinary individuals to live and work in the US is the O-1A or O-1B visa categories.
The O-1A visa category is for those who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and can demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim.
A person may prove sustained national or international acclaim in the sciences, education, business or athletics by receipt of a major internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize, OR documenting at least three of the following: (1) receipt of nationally or internationally recognized awards; (2) membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement; (3) published materials about the applicant in professional or major trade publications; (4) judgment of the work of others; (5) original scientific or scholarly work of major significance in the field; (6) evidence of authorship of scholarly work; (7) evidence of employment in a critical or essential capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputation; or (8) has commanded or will command a high salary in relation to others in the field.
To demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim in the arts, a person must prove prominence in the field by being nominated for or the recipient of a significant international or national award or prize, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, OR by documenting at least three of the following: (1) lead in production having a distinguished reputation; (2) critical reviews in major newspapers or trade journals; (3) lead for organization that has a distinguished reputation; (4) record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes; (5) significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field; or (6) has commanded or will command a high salary.
The O-1B visa category is for those working in the motion picture or television production industry who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement.
The requirements to show extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television production industries are similar to those described above for the arts, but in general, a person will need to meet a higher standard in order to show extraordinary achievement. In addition, to demonstrate extraordinary achievement, an applicant needs to show that he or she has received or been nominated for significant national or international awards such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award OR three of the following: (1) performed or will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements; (2) achieved national or internal recognition for achievements; (3) performed or will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; (4) a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes; (5) received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field; and (6) a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field.
A person applying for an O-1 visa must be entering the US to continue in his or her field of work, but it is not required to show that the position he or she will be working in requires someone to have extraordinary ability or achievement.