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What Are the Chances O1 Applicants Will Receive a Visa?

The likelihood that an O1 visa applicant will be approved for and receive an O1 visa is not as low as many people may think. Of course, whether or not an applicant is approved for the O1 visa depends on the qualifications of the applicant. However, the O1 visa is not subject to annual limits on the number of O1 visas that are distributed like other temporary employment visas, such as the H1B visa.

Moreover, an applicant does not need to have won a Nobel Prize, Emmy, or some other prestigious award in order to receive the O1 visa. In fact, there are several types of evidence that applicants can use in order to prove they have an extraordinary ability or achievement that qualifies them for the O1 visa.

How to Improve My Chances of Receiving an O1 Visa? 

The best way for O1 visa applicants to improve their chances of receiving an O1 visa is to make sure they are able to prove their eligibility for the visa through forms of evidence that are accepted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and by confirming they meet all application requirements prior to submitting a visa petition. 

O1 visa applicants can always improve their chance of being approved for the O1 visa by consulting with an immigration attorney prior to compiling evidence of their extraordinary ability or achievement and submitting their application to the USCIS. Immigration attorneys can help applicants determine what evidence that is specific to an applicant’s case is most likely to prove their eligibility for the O1 visa. 

How to Know if My O1 Visa Application is Likely to be Approved? 

Individuals who are considering applying for the O1 visa can do a preliminary assessment of their qualifications for the visa by evaluating the forms of evidence accepted by the USCIS and determining whether or not they can produce the necessary evidence.

A list of accepted evidence for each type of O1 visa is provided below. Review the evidence that corresponds with the field in which you have an extraordinary ability or achievement and evaluate whether or not you are able to produce sufficient evidence that demonstrates your extraordinary ability or achievement.

Applicants with Extraordinary Ability in Arts

Individuals who believe they qualify as having an extraordinary ability in the arts should review the accepted forms of evidence below, and determine whether or not they can produce such evidence:

  • Evidence that the applicant has been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award; or
  • Applicant can produce at least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Evidence that the applicant has performed, and 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;
    • Evidence that the applicant has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
    • Evidence that the applicant has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
    • Evidence that the applicant 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 applicant has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the applicant is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the applicants achievements; or
    • Evidence that the applicant 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; or
  • If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility. 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iv)(A)(B)

Applicants with Extraordinary Ability in the Fields of Science, Education, Business, or Athletics

Individuals who believe they qualify as having an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business, or athletics should review the accepted forms of evidence below, and determine whether or not they can produce such evidence:

  • Receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or
  • Applicant can produce at least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Documentation of the applicant’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Documentation of the applicant’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant, relating to the applicant’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
    • Evidence that the applicant has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    • Evidence that the applicant has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
  • If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility. 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iii)(A)(B) 

Applicants with Extraordinary Achievement in the Motion Picture or Television Industry

Individuals who believe they qualify as having an extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry should review the accepted forms of evidence below, and determine whether or not they can produce such evidence:

  • Evidence that the applicant has been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director’s Guild Award; or
  • Applicant can produce at least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Evidence that the applicant has performed, and 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;
    • Evidence that the applicant has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
    • Evidence that the applicant has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
    • Evidence that the applicant 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 picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications;
    • Evidence that the applicant has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the applicant is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the applicant’s achievements; or
    • Evidence that the applicant 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. 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iv)(A)(B)

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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