O - Extraordinary Ability Visa


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O visas are issued to persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television production, and their essential support personnel.

All applicants for O visas must have a petition approved on their behalf by USCIS. The petition, Form I-129, must be approved before the prospective worker can apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. When the petition is approved, the employer or agent receives a Notice of Action, Form I-797, which serves as the petition approval notification. Visa applicants must bring the approved I-129 petition receipt number to the interview so that petition approval can be verified. Approval of a petition does not guarantee visa issuance to an applicant found to be ineligible under U.S. immigration law.

Application Items

To apply for an O-1 or O-2 visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpage for more information.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2 x 2 photograph. Click here to see the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of the nonimmigrant visa application processing fee (non-refundable) of US$190, payable in local currency. This page provides additional information about paying this fee. If the visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on the applicant's nationality. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on your petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, or Notice of Action, Form I-797, from USCIS.


Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is of concern, the applicant should bring the documents to the Embassy in a sealed envelope. The Embassy will not make this information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of the information.



Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may receive derivative O-3 visas in order to accompany the principal visa holder. The spouse of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder may apply to DHS for employment authorization. Dependent children of an O visa holder are not authorized to work in the U.S.

If dependents apply for visas at a later date, a copy of the principal visa holder's visa must be presented with the dependent’s application.

More Information

Visit the Department of State's website for more information about O and other work visas.