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Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and Problems of Proof
 
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Updated: August 22, 2017

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EVIDENTIARY CRITERIA FOR O-1 NONIMMIGRANT VISA AS AN ‘ALIEN OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY’ IN SCIENCE, EDUCATION, BUSINESS OR ATHLETICS


8 CFR § 214.2(o)(3)(ii)

Extraordinary ability in the field of science, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of the field of endeavour.


8 CFR § 214.2(o)(3)(iii)

See note following as to the form of documentation required.

An alien of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics 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
  2. At least three of the following forms of documentation:
    1. Documentation of the alien’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavour;
    2. Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
    3. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published materials, and any necessary translation;
    4. Evidence of the alien’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;
    5. Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    6. Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
    7. Evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    8. Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
  3. If the criteria in paragraph (o)(3)(iii) of this section do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility.

FORM OF DOCUMENTATION
8 C.F.R. section 214.2(o)(2)(iii)

  1. Form of documentation. The evidence submitted with an O petition shall conform to the following:
    1. Affidavits, contracts, awards, and similar documentation must reflect the nature of the alien’s achievement and be executed by an officer or responsible person employed by the institution, firm, establishment, or organization where the work was performed.
    2. Affidavits written by present or former employers or recognized experts certifying to the recognition and extraordinary ability, or in the case of a motion picture or television production, the extraordinary achievement of the alien, shall specifically describe the alien’s recognition and ability or achievement in factual terms and set forth the expertise of the affiant and the manner in which the affiant acquired such information.
    3. A legible photocopy of a document in support of the petition may be submitted in lieu of the original. However, the original document shall be submitted if requested by the Director.
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