a) WHO IS THE VISA FOR?
This category is for companies that wish to employ people who have demonstrated extraordinary ability (i.e. Nobel Prize recipient) in the sciences, education, or business.
b) WHO MAKES THE APPLICATION/PETITION?
The company submits a petition to the appropriate BCIS Service Center.
c) WHERE/HOW DO THEY APPLY?
d) HOW LONG DOES PROCESSING TAKE?
Processing time ranges from 30 to 60 days.
e) HOW LONG IS VALIDITY?
Initial grant of up to three years. No outside limitation on stay.

The O category is set aside for aliens of extraordinary” ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members. No numerical cap is placed on the annual admission of these aliens, but the definitions covering this category should serve effectively to limit the number of annual admissions.

The law establishes three different standards for the O-1 category: (1) the most exacting standard applies to aliens in the sciences, education, business, and athletics; (2) a much less rigorous standard applies to individual aliens in the arts; and (3) an intermediate standard applies to aliens of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or TV industries.

Aliens of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Education, Business, and Athletics. With regard to the first group (aliens in the sciences, education, business, and athletics), the BCIS rules provide that only a person who is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of his or her field of endeavor qualifies for this type of extraordinary ability. To qualify for O-1 status, the alien must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing evidence of:

1. receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or at least three of the following forms of documentation:
 
receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
membership in association in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members (as judged by recognized national or international experts in the discipline or fields)
published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien concerning the alien’s work in the field (include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation)
participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the field
scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or other major media
employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
high salary or other remuneration commanded by the alien for services (as evidenced by contracts or other reliably evidence)
other comparable evidence
SPECIAL CONDITIONS
The principal condition regarding O status that must be remembered by employers is that obtaining O status for an alien requires three steps:
1) obtaining advisory opinion from peer group, labor organization, or management organization;
2) approval by the BCIS of an O petition supported by the advisory opinion; and
3) issuance by a U.S. consulate of an O visa based on the approved petition.