Prospective O-1 candidate completes online O-1 questionnaire and sends requested
supporting documentation to Jackson & Hertogs (J&H).
As part of this initial stage, the foreign national will need to gather 4-6 reference letters
from independent experts in the field who can attest to the foreign national's qualifications
as an individual with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
In preparing an O-1 case, our office assists in identifying appropriate references, and we provide
a template reference letter, and sample letters if needed.
Information and documentation are reviewed and evaluated by an attorney who works
with a paralegal to prepare the O-1 petition.
Reference Letters & Advisory Opinion
A written advisory opinion is required from an appropriate "peer group". A peer group is a U.S.
group or organization which is comprised of practitioners of the alien's occupation who are of
similar standing with the alien, and which is governed by such practitioners. A peer group should
preferably be a labor or professional organization if possible. In certain O-1 petitions (e.g.,
most artist petitions), a specific peer group advisory opinion is mandatory.
Alternatively, especially for O-1 petitions where there is not a specific group (e.g., most
science and business petitions), the advisory opinion can be issued by an "expert in the field"
located in the U.S. The expert should be a prominent member (e.g., director, advisory board member)
of at least one professional organization in the field. Former collaboration is not preferred as
the expert must conduct an objective, detached evaluation of the foreign national's qualifications.
The advisory opinion for O-1 extraordinary ability must describe the applicant's ability and
achievements in the field of endeavor, the nature of the duties to be performed, and whether
the position requires someone of extraordinary ability.
Upon receipt of the reference letters and advisory opinion letter, as well as documentation of the
foreign national's qualifications (awards, articles, etc.), J&H finalizes the O-1 petition, employer
support letter, and exhibit list and sends to employer for signature.
When the signed employer support letter and forms are returned to J&H, the O-1 petition is filed
with the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
USCIS processing times vary depending on whether the O-1 petition is filed under regular
processing (several months) or premium processing (15 calendar day). Premium processing requires
submission of an additional filing fee.
Upon approval, J&H forwards the original approval notice and instructions to the foreign national,
with a copy to the employer. Occasionally, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE), which may
require that additional documentation be provided before the petition can be approved. For example,
a RFE can be expected if the foreign national does not clearly qualify under this category. In rare
circumstances, USCIS may deny a case without RFE.