Are You Distinguished in the Arts?

If so, you may qualify for an O-1B visa.

An O-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign national to reside and work in the United States for a period of up to three years. O-1B visa renewal is easy and unlimited, and some  visa holders eventually qualify to apply for a green card through the EB-1 process.

A person in the arts, such as a musician, writer, painter or even a chef, must show that they are prominent in their field. To do so, they must provide evidence that they possess skill and recognition substantially above that normally encountered.

A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer is not qualified to determine whether a particular person is actually good at what they do. Therefore, the officer looks at evidence of that person’s professional reputation.

When evaluating an O-1B application, an officer must find that at least three of eight identified elements have been established. Some of those elements are expert opinion letters, awards or honors received, media coverage and participation in important events or projects.

Some of the benefits of an O-1B are that education is not taken into account and the job does not have to be a “specialty position,” or even a particularly distinguished one. People who don't qualify for an H-1B visa for these reasons might qualify for an O-1 visa.

The detriment is that USCIS has an enormous amount of discretion in adjudicating these visas. Therefore, it is critical to work with an experienced immigration attorney on these visas.

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