The Difference between O1 and EB1 Visas

The Difference between O1 visas and EB1 Visas

These O1 and EB1 visas are available to those foreigners who have “extraordinary abilities” with international or national recognition in their field of either the Arts, Sciences, Business, Education or Athletics. In order to demonstrate you have sustained national or international acclaim and that your achievements have been recognized in your field of expertise, you must either include evidence of a one-time achievement (major internationally-recognized award) or 3 of the 10 listed criteria below.

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing art 

An O1 visa is what we call a temporary “NON-Immigrant” visa whereas an EB1 visa is an “Immigrant” visa that leads to a green card.  An O1 visa calls for a corporate sponsor whereas with an EB1 the petitioner can self petition. An O1 visa petitioner can also petition for derivatives such as family members including spouses and children. However, the EB1 does not allow for this. Although an O1’s spouse or children can receive derivative status as an O3, they cannot work. They are strictly prohibited from working. 

In my opinion, based on the differences an O1 visa is preferable to a person that knows they will be in the US temporarily. The EB1 provides a pathway to citizenship and is the better path for someone who intends to make the US their permanent residence.