O-1 Visa Requirements: Do's and Dont's for Documenting the Extraordinary

Even lesser-known national or international awards may work, if the pool of applicants is at the national or international level.

If possible, include background information about the award, information about the pool of applicants, the level of competition, and information about the selection criteria.

Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized awards

A key to a successful O-1 visa petition is in how you present and organize the supporting documentation showing that you meet the O-1 visa requirements. Below we have summarized the O-1 visa requirements, and some do's and don'ts for each requirement:

O-1 Visa Requirement

Do’s

Don’ts

Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized awards

Even lesser-known national or international awards may work, if the pool of applicants is at the national or international level.

If possible, include background information about the award, information about the pool of applicants, the level of competition, and information about the selection criteria.

For purposes of applying for the O-1A, the award must truly be a national or international award. It should not be an award given by the university which is granted just within the university. Nor do travel grants usually qualify.

Membership in an organization that requires outstanding achievement

Organizations that require sponsorship to join, based on your previous work, generally satisfy this requirement.

Organizations in which you simply pay membership dues and join do not count.

Published materials about the applicant in a professional or major trade publication

This may include TV segments about your work, online articles highlighting your work (from reputable sites), review articles praising your work, journal editions that have highlighted your work as being of special import, etc.

If the published materials do not specifically mention your name or otherwise tie the work to you, it’s difficult to use for this criterion.

Judgment of the work of others

This can include documentation that you have been invited to serve as a reviewer for a journal (and have actually done so), that you have served as editor of a professional journal, etc.

If you have been invited to review the work of others but have not actually done so, you will not likely meet this criterion.

Original scientific or scholarly works of major significance in his/her field

It is important to clearly outline the practical importance of your work in application package, especially in the letters of recommendation and letters of support.

Highly technical information with no explanation of what it means or how it is relevant or helpful to others will not suffice.

Evidence of authorship of scholarly work

It also helps to highlight the impact factor of the journal in which the work has been published, if it is favorable.

Evidence he/she has been employed in a critical or essential capacity at an organization with a distinguished reputation

This can be documented through letters of recommendation from others at your institution, and using the documentation of the other criteria you are using.

Don’t forget the second part of this criteria – documenting that the organization has a distinguished reputation

Has commanded or will command a high salary in relation to others in the field

Independent documentation that the salary is high is helpful – for example, a letter from an HR manager in the field (but not from your institution), or a salary survey relating to your field, from a reputable source.

It is not sufficient to show that the beneficiary earns a lot of money- you must show that it is a high salary relative to others in the field.

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