How to Best Prepare for an O1 Visa Application

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If you are neither a citizen nor a resident of the United States but you wish to visit the U.S. temporarily in order to attend a work-related event or pursue work-related goals, you may be eligible for an O-1 visa. Unlike other kinds of temporary, non-immigrant visas, O-1 visas are only made available to those foreign nationals who have accomplished extraordinary achievements in specific fields of work and/or artistry.

If you can verify that you have extraordinary talent or achievements within your chosen field, an O-1 visa may allow you to briefly enter the United States in order to engage in a paid performance, compete in an athletic event or otherwise advance your professional work. In general, your verifiable talent and achievements must be tied to your work in arts and entertainment, business, science, athletics or education. However, some nuanced exceptions to these general categories may apply.


Preparing to Submit Your Application

Working with an attorney experienced in U.S. visa application matters will help to ensure that your petition is completed thoroughly and processed without delay. Attorneys act as critical resources during the O-1 application process, because failure to obtain proper permissions in a timely manner may cause applicants to miss their American work-related engagements. Although an attorney will complete the majority of the complex paperwork involved in this process, it is important to provide your attorney with the documentation that will support your O-1 visa application and corresponding claims of extraordinary talents and achievements.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires certain kinds of documentation in order to process an O-1 visa application. In addition to standard information like your name and occupation, you will need to provide support that proves you are operating at the very top of your field of endeavor. For example, you will generally need to obtain a written advisory from a management or labor organization attesting to your accomplishments. In addition, you may need to submit reviews of your work, journal articles, proof of major awards and distinctions you have earned, evidence of a significant salary and other forms of professional recognition. Your attorney will advise you as to what specific documents are required in your situation. But you may want to begin thinking about which kind of support may be available in order to verify your specific achievements and talents before you formally consult with your attorney.


Gathering Supporting Documentation

When beginning to gather documentation related to your O-1 visa application form, it is important to understand that you will need to provide a variety of support. In addition to your written advisory from a reputable, professionally-related organization, you will need to provide at least three different kinds of documentation verifying your high level of professional talent and/or accomplishment. This means that you cannot submit, for example, only reviews of your work published by the international press. You will need at least three different categories of documentation in order to support your O-1 petition.

If you have published work in peer-reviewed journals, you may opt to submit them as part of your petition. But you will also need to provide additional evidence of your merit. For example, you may provide evidence that you belong to an exclusive professional society that requires a high level of accomplishment before becoming a member. In addition, you might submit reviews of your published work. You may even submit confirmation that you have served as a reputable critic of others’ work as evidence that you are respected as a top member of your profession. Evidence that you have made wholly original contributions to your field of work or study may also serve as valuable support for your application.

If you are a performer or athlete, your supporting documentation may include awards you have won. But your talent and level of achievement must also be supported by additional information. For example, you may be able to submit evidence that you have performed at an elite level. Tennis players may cite playing at Wimbledon and violinists may cite performances at Carnegie Hall.


Employment-Based Immigration Guidance Is Available

Petitioning for O-1 visa permission is not always an easy or straightforward task. If you are interested in securing an O-1 visa or if you represent a business that is interested in sponsoring an O-1 visa candidate, please consider reaching out to LawTrades for assistance. Our team has extensive experience assisting both individuals and businesses as they seek to navigate the employment-based immigration process.