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The O1A visa checklist below provides a general idea of what is usually needed for the person of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics to obtain their O1A work visa. To have a better understanding of this list, please read the O1A visa overview for the big picture and please then go through the O1A visa requirements and documents to get the details on what is usually included or not included as effective evidence.


Please click to download the O1A visa checklist for persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.


The overall emphasis on the documents and requirements/criteria of an O1A visa petition is that the person’s caliber at a national or international level must be shown. For example, the requirement that the person must have sustained national or international acclaim or the criterion that requires scholarly articles to have been published in journals that have national or international circulation.

The requirements for an O1A visa petition are extensive and while ticking the boxes of requirements sounds simple enough, figuring out what items should be included and strategizing how the petition is presented is not. It is common practice and strongly encouraged to obtain an attorney for employment-based nonimmigrant visa petitions. 

Alternatives to the O1A Visa Petition

For people who do not qualify for the O1A work visa petition yet and are in the field of science, education or business, the closest alternatives would be filing for an H1b visa petition (Australians can file for E-3 visa petitions) or TN visa petition (for Canadian or Mexicans) to work in the United States. For certain people in the field of business, the alternatives to the O1A visa petition would be to file an L1A visa petition for managers or executives of multinational companies, an L1B visa petition for employees with specialized knowledge of multinational companies that they work for, or an E1 (Treaty Trader) visa petition or an E2 (Treaty Investor) visa petition for business owners or investors. The alternative to an O1A visa for athletes would be to file a P1A visa petition (Internationally Recognized Athlete).

Another possible alternative to filing an O1A visa petition would be to file for a green card petition which is a permanent immigrant visa and not a temporary work visa like the O1A visa. Typically, a person who is qualifiable for an O1A visa would choose to file for an EB1 green card due to the similarities of the standards and requirements between the two visas. For more on green cards gained through work, please read the overview for employment-based green cards. 


If you have an O1A work visa (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) immigration question, please fill out our contact us form or send us an email with some basic information about your background and your immigration needs. We will do our best to respond within 48 hours.

How we can help?

Kylie Huang Law’s immigration attorney will help identify whether the O1A visa is the appropriate nonimmigrant visa category for the client’s (or the client’s beneficiary’s) professional background and if there are other visa options for the client (or the client’s beneficiary). We will work closely with our client to prepare a convincing case for their (or it’s) O1A visa petition and we will also strategize on how the O1A visa petition should be presented to achieve the best chances of approval. It is strongly advised and common practice to retain an immigration attorney for an O1A work visa petition due to the complexities in the immigration process and visa requirements.

What does the typical process look like to retain (hire) us?