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The O-1 nonimmigrant classification is for the employment of foreign nationals who have achieved and sustained national or international acclaim for extraordinary ability in one of the five following broad areas [INA 101(a)(15)(O)]:

  • Sciences
  • Arts
  • Education
  • Business
  • Athletics

There are different standards of proof required to show extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, and athletics versus the proof required to show extraordinary ability in the arts.

At JHU, the most common O-1 filing is for extraordinary ability in the sciences category. The regulations define aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences as follows:
“Extraordinary ability in the field of science . . . means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages who have arisen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

Each O-1 petition may be for an initial period of three years and is renewable for an indefinite period of one-year increments thereafter.

O-1 status is employer-specific and position-specific. The international may only work for the employer that sponsors the O-1 petition, and only in the position specified in the petition.