Foreign Workers with Special Talents, Abilities and Accomplishments

The United States has a long history of welcoming the most successful and talented immigrants from around the world and that history has been written into the immigration laws in several places, conferring special benefits for both immigrants and nonimmigrants alike. We highlight some of these options.

Permanent Residency

The immigration law gives its highest employment-based preference to ’priority workers including persons of extraordinary ability. This category has only recently been oversubscribed for any country and backlogs are minimal (by immigration standards.). The category obviously applies to the best of the best, the individuals who have risen to the very top of their field, including the Academy Award winners, Nobel laureates, the Rock stars, and the Titans of Industry. But the category also applies to lesser luminaries who can document a history of success and recognition in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics that have established them as leaders in their fields.


O Visas–This temporary worker visa is similar to the above persons of extraordinary ability, although immigration officials are generally less demanding in approving the nonimmigrant visa than they are in granting permanent residency. You will qualify if you have achieved sustained national or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Generally, a qualifying individual has a portfolio of news clippings about them, has been chosen to serve on a panel that judges or reviews the works of others in their field and a record of awards and accomplishments. The visa does not require that you be famous generally, but others in your field in your country should be aware of your achievements.
P Visas- This visa is like the O visa but it recognizes achievements as a member of a group or team. Members of a successful musical band or athletic team are the most common. Here, the challenge is to prove the success of the group and the establish that you are an integral member of that group.