What is the O-1 Visa?
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for an individual who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
There are two types of O-1 visa, depending on the type of industry or occupation:
- O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
- O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
This post will discuss the evidentiary criteria for the second type, O-1B visa for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. Please view our post on the evidentiary criteria for the first type, O-1A visa for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B
An O-1B visa applicant needs to provide evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
- Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
- Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
- A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
- Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author's authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary's achievements
- A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence
If the above criteria do not readily apply to the applicant's occupation in the arts, other comparable evidence may be submitted (this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).
Additionally, the applicant must provide evidence that they are coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability or achievement.
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