O-1 Worker of Extraordinary Ability-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

O-1 Worker of Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 nonimmigrant category is for the employment of individuals who have achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, and other fields. Like an H-1B petition, the employer (not the individual) is the petitioner and the application is "employer specific" in that the worker must be specifically authorized for each and every employer for the specific period of time requested in the application to USCIS.

The O-1 has an initial period of 3 years with one year extensions thereafter. There is no maximum duration limit (unlike the H with a maximum of 6 years in total.) O-1 is sometimes utilized by exceptionally talented individuals who have already fully used their 6 years in H-1B status.

There is the additional advantage that a person in J status who is subject to the 2-year home residency rule is not required to seek and obtain a waiver. If an individual is not able to obtain such a waiver, O-1 may be an option when H-1B is not (since the waiver is required for an H-1B petition.)

The application process has some features in common with the H-1B petition. However the supporting documentation is critiqued much more carefully by the USCIS and must show that the individual is truly outstanding in his/her field. OIE does not process O applications; there is no Labor Condition Application (LCA) process. Scholars and departments should refer to the OIE handout "Procedures for Hiring Attorneys to Process Employment Applications" and should follow the procedures outlined. The attorney pre-approved to process the O-1 petition will receive an USCIS Approval Notice; this Approval Notice is used by the individual for payroll purposes along with the passport, new I-94, visa (if any), and social security card.

OIE encourages new O-1 workers to attend OIE's weekly New Scholar Orientation sessions held each week on Thursday, from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM. Call OIE at (412) 268-5231 for more information or to schedule attendance. O-1 workers should bring their passport, O-1 Approval Form, and I-94 to the meeting.

Last Updated On: January 10, 2017