O-1 Visa for Scientists

SUMMARY OF O1 VISA FOR SCIENTISTS

All foreign Scientists and Researchers are potentially eligible for O-1 Visas. Most applicants are transferring from a OPT, J-1, or an H-1B Visa to an O1 Visa. Sometimes they are recruited to a company from overseas. To achieve an O-1 Visa a Scientist must meet 3 of 8 criteria listed below AND have a job offer from a US Employer. The O-1 Visa allows a holder to work and live in the US for three years, and can be renewed indefinitely. Due to the extensive procedural requirements of the O-1 Visa, using an experienced O-1 Visa Attorney is highly recommended. Contact us to see how we can help you win your case.

NOTE: There is a Green Card "version" of an O-1 Visa called an EB-1 Visa, which you can "upgrade" to at a later time. The EB-1 lasts for 10 years and leads to citizenship. Our lawyers handle both O1 visas and EB1 visas.

JOB TITLES ELIGIBLE FOR THE O1 VISA FOR SCIENTISTS

These following jobs are scheduled under the O-1 Visa for Science. This list is not meant to be complete. Animal Scientist, Anthropologists, Atmospheric Physicist, Archaeologist, Astrologer, Astronomer, Behavioral Neuroscientist, Biochemist, Biologist, Biomedical Engineer, Biophysicist, Chemist, Computer Scientist, Data Scientist, Economist, Environmental Scientist, Epidemiologist, Food Scientist, Forensic Chemist, Forensic Scientist, Forester, Formulation Scientist, Geographer, Geologist, Geophysicist, Geoscientist, Geotechnical Engineer, Gerontologist, Histologist, Historian, Hydrologist, Materials Scientist, Mathematician, Medical Scientist, Microbiologist, Molecular Biologist, Molecular Scientist, Neuroscientist, Nuclear Engineer, Nutritional Scientist, Organic Chemist, Pharmacologist, Physical Chemist, Physicist, Plant Scientist, Political Scientist, Polymer Chemist, Professor, Research Scientist, Researcher, Serologist, Sociologist, Statistician, Toxicologist, Zoologist.

TYPE OF O1 VISA

Scientists are eligible for an O-1A Visa in the Field of Science. O-1A Visas are a sub-type of O-1 Visa, available to those seeking to work in the field of Athletics, Business, Education or Science. An O1 Visa for Scientists is categorized in the Field of Science. The other type of O-1 is an O-1B Visa, which is for artists. The criteria for an O-1A Visa is different from that of an O-1B, although they do have some similarities. It is important not to rely on generalized "O-1 Criteria" from internet sources as they are likely regarding O-1B visas, which do not apply to Scientists.

CRITERIA FOR O1A VISA FOR SCIENTISTS

An Scientist must show that they meet at least (3) of (8) criteria. However, most Scientists meet the same 3-4 criteria when applying. It's important to remember that the criteria are a checklist and not a "weighted" system. Once you meet three, the case officer will likely stop reading your application. A person who meets 3 criteria gets the same visa as a person who meets 8 criteria. Further, meeting a criteria is a pass/fail endeavor, and there is no credit given for partially fulfilling one.

Let's look at the criteria that a Scientist usually applies under. The first two criteria, Authorship and Organizations, are met by most scientists. The criteria below that, Judge, Salary, and Associations are the other criteria that Scientists usually apply under, although rarely for all of them at the same time. Beneath that is the final criteria that is possible, but very rarely applied for by scientists: Awards, Contribution, and News Media.

AUTHORSHIP : Have You Authored Scholarly Articles?

In order to meet this criteria a Scientist needs to have published scholarly articles in a Professional Journal. These articles may be part of their PhD or Masters program. They do not need to be cited by other professionals. While there is no clear number needed, the bar appears to be very low. We have had clients approved who have only published one article. We do not submit more than six articles due to redundency. The usual number submitted is three. Conference papers may be counted, but they are not viewed as well as journal articles. Authored books or chapters of books will meet this criteria.

ORGANIZATIONS : Have You Worked For A Successful Company?

In order to meet this criteria a Scientist needs to have worked as an important member of a successful company. The bar for a successful company is very low, and mainly it is meant to avoid fraud employment through relatives. It is very likely that if you are employed as a Scientist you are both working at a successful company AND are an important part of that company. An unimportant member of a company would be considered a secretary or assistant. You will need your previous company's cooperation in fulfilling this visa. If you are already working for the company that is sponsoring you, they can act as your "prior employer".

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRIOR TWO CRITERIA ARE MET BY MOST SCIENTIST APPLICANTS. ONE OF THE BELOW CRITERIA IS NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION, BUT ARE MORE RARE.

JUDGE : Have You Been A Peer Reviewer?

In order to meet this criteria a Scientist needs to have acted in the capacity of a Judge. This can be formally through a competition, or in reviewing others work. Many scientists volunteer to be a peer-reviewer for a Journal in order to meet this criteria. Other times a person acting in a Supervisory role of other scientists at their job may meet this criteria. Although applying under the capacity of a supervisory is less desireable than having acted as an official judge or peer reviewer.

SALARY : Are You Highly Paid For Your Job?

This criteria asks if you are making or have made a high salary for your job compared to others in your field of work. The following chart is instructive on what is considered a "high salary" for someone working in the US:

Job TitleAnnualHourly
Animal Scientist$124760$59.98
Anthropologists and Archeologist$93650$45.03
Astronomer$162630$78.19
Atmospheric and Space Scientist$128670$61.86
Biochemists and Biophysicist$149130$71.7
Biological Scientist$115260$55.42
Chemist$126220$60.68
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologist$113640$54.63
Conservation Scientist$92400$44.42
Economist$170780$82.11
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Healt$114990$55.28
Epidemiologist$112360$54.02
Food Scientists and Technologist$107810$51.83
Forester$85750$41.23
Geographer$104670$50.32
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographer$NA$NA
Historian$101640$48.87
Hydrologist$117190$56.34
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist$145480$69.94
Materials Scientist$143960$69.21
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologist$148210$71.25
Microbiologist$125000$60.1
Physicist$184650$88.77
Political Scientist$153960$74.02
Sociologist$127890$61.48
Soil and Plant Scientist$100440$48.29
Survey Researcher$95070$45.71
Urban and Regional Planner$99560$47.86
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist$96720$46.5


Association : Are You A Member Of An Exclusive Professional Club?

In order to meet this criteria a Scientist needs to be a part of a professional association, club, or organization which only allows in members after they are judged on a criteria which includes merit/achievement. It cannot simply be an objective test, for example, an alumni club which lets in members who graduated would be objective. The membership criteria must be objective, which would include being interviewed, or having your resume or work accomplishments evaluated.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PRIOR THREE CRITERIA ARE MET BY SOME SCIENTIST APPLICANTS. THE BELOW CRITERIA ARE VERY RARELY MET BY SCIENTIST APPLICANTS.

Award : Have You or Your Team Won An Award or Research Grant?

The award needs to be nationally or internationally recognized, and not related to school. Scholarships for education or PhD programs, and the Fulbright Scholarship, do not count. Grants or Money Awards for research do count. It can be awarded to you or your employer for work you contributed towards.

News Media : Have You Been in the News for Your Work?

While very rare for Scientists, this O1 Criteria is met when you are in the news specifically for work related achievements. It needs to be a national news source, not local, but it can be online. It can be a US or Foreign media source.

Original Contribution : Have You Made a Discovery?

This Criteria is very hard to prove because the evidence requirements are so exacting. Literally it's supposed to be granted to people who have a new development in Science or Business, or whose team has a new development. However, proving that development has become nearly impossible. We rarely submit under this criteria, but it is an option.

THATS ALL OF THE CRITERIA. YOU NEED THREE OF THE ABOVE TO BE APPROVED. THE EVIDENCE USED TO SHOW THE CRITERIA IS MET IS VERY EXACTING. SEND US AN EMAIL TO GET YOUR CASE STARTED AT GOUERS.LAW@GMAIL.COM.