←Back to blog
April 25, 2024

How to Meet the “Original Contribution” Criteria for the O-1 Talent Visa for the United States

To obtain the O-1A visa for the USA, it's necessary to meet at least three out of eight extraordinary ability criteria, among which is an original contribution to your professional field. The official description by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states: "Evidence of the beneficiary's original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field."

What is an "Original Contribution"?

An original contribution is a significant innovation, pioneering technology, scientific discovery, original methodology, or other achievements that have had a substantial impact on your professional field. This field can be scientific, artistic, athletic, or business-related. To apply for an O-1 visa, you need to prove that you are not just a competent professional but an outstanding one who has introduced something new to the industry.

How can you prove the significance of your contribution?

The following types of evidence can be provided to meet the major contribution criteria for an O-1 visa for the United States:

  • Patents, licenses, copyright certificates indicating you as the inventor or developer.
  • Examples of your developments being implemented or utilized by major companies.
  • Publications in professional and scientific journals or major media outlets highlighting your contributions.
  • Reviews and recommendation letters from respected experts in your field (it is important to confirm their stature), indicating that your method or invention is widely used and has significant importance for the field.
  • If the primary product of the company you work at was created by you or with your participation, you can present evidence of the company's success (significant revenue, partnerships with major companies, venture capital funding, acceptance into accelerators, etc.).
  • For scientific research, success criteria would include a high citation index and extensive discussion of your research results in the academic community.

It's important that the evidence you provide is not only  convincing but also well documented. General statements unsupported by facts, statistics, or references to authoritative sources may not be accepted.

Examples of proof of contribution

If you are a founder of a startup that developed a unique product, to meet the "Original Contribution" criteria for the O-1 visa, you will need to demonstrate why your product or technology is unique and innovative, how your invention was implemented, and its impact on the industry. This could also be a book you have written on a professional topic, or the development of a company to certain economic indicators, or the creation of a unique international agreement. Another example is if you are a coach, and under your personal guidance, an athlete won an Olympic medal.


If you want to enhance the significance of your contribution to the industry, actively publish articles and speak at industry conferences. This will not only strengthen your reputation but also help document the significance of your work.

The "Original Contribution" criteria is one of the most challenging when applying for the O-1 visa, as it requires not only significant achievements but also proper documentation. Our attorneys will help you compellingly present your achievements as an important contribution to the industry. We will gather all necessary documents and organize them into a well-composed presentation to maximize your chances of obtaining the O-1 visa for the USA.

Criteria of outstanding abilities for an O-1A visa for the USA
  • Awards. You have received significant nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards in your field.
  • Membership. You are a member of a professional organization or community.
  • Published material about you. You were featured in publications or interviews in the national or international press.
  • Judging. You have served as a judge in a professional contest in your field.
  • Original contribution. You have made a significant contribution to the development of your industry, for example, through patents or publications about your work and projects.
  • Authorship of scholarly articles. You have been an author or co-author of publications in major or industry media or academic journals.
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity. You have held an important position in a well-known company.
  • High salary. You were highly remunerated in the company.

Learn your chances or book a free consultation with our team to learn more about the O-1 visa.

Read more
June 7, 2024
How to Meet the “High Salary” Criteriа for the O-1 Talent Visa for the United States
June 4, 2024
How to Meet the “Employment in a Critical or Essential Capacity” Criteriа for the O-1 Talent Visa for the United States
May 23, 2024
How to Meet the “Authorship of Scholarly Articles” Criteria for the O-1 Talent Visa for the United States
May 24, 2024
How to Prepare Your Startup Idea for the French Projet Innovant Visa