Eligibility Criteria

The US Government defines those eligible for the O-1B Visa as follows:

"Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts. This is evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that you are prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts."

In support of an O-1B Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), the petitioner must establish that the beneficiary:

  • Has extraordinary ability in the arts which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim;

  • Has achievements that have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; and

  • Is coming to work in the area of extraordinary ability (but not necessarily that the particular duties to be performed require someone of such extraordinary ability).

  • The supporting documentation for an O-1B (Arts) petition must include evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, a significant national or international award in the particular field (such as a career life-time achievement)


OR at least three of the following forms of evidence:

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has performed, and will perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion pictures or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications;

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements; or

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.


A U.S. employer, U.S. agent, or foreign employer through a U.S. agent should file (see Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf, along with the required evidence according to the form instructions. Your employer or agent cannot file the petition more than one year before they actually need your services. To avoid delays, your employer or agent should file your Form I-129 at least 45 days before the date of employment.

In addition to Form I-129, the petitioner must submit the documentary evidence discussed below:


The Petitioner must provide a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability. If the O-1 petition is for an individual with extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor union and a management organization with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability.

Contract between petitioner and beneficiary

The Petitioner must submit a copy of any written contract between you and the petitioner or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which you will be employed. 


The petitioner must provide an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, if applicable. The petitioner must establish that there are events or activities in your field of extraordinary ability for the validity period requested such as an itinerary for a tour or a series of events.


A U.S. agent may be your actual employer, the representative of both you and the employer, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.  

Evidence demonstrating O-1 Eligibility

The petitioner must provide evidence demonstrating your extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics, or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture industry.  The record must include at least three different types of documentation corresponding to those listed in the regulations, or comparable evidence in certain circumstances, and the evidence must, as a whole, demonstrate that you meet the relevant standards for classification.