Criteria for the O-1B Visa

Evidentiary Criteria for O-1B Visa


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations define art broadly, to include many areas of skill.   Practically, USCIS will consider any field of creative activity or endeavor.  This would include areas such as fine arts, visual arts, culinary arts, and performing arts.   Individuals who are engaged in an artistic field include principal creators, performers, and also other essential persons.  These individuals may include people who work as directors, conductors, orchestrators, choreographers,  musical supervisors, costume designers, set designers, lighting designers, sound designers, choreologists, coaches, arrangers,makeup artists, flight masters, stage technicians, and animal trainers.  As long as the person involved also has a special ability that is necessary and pertains to the activities, or arts, they are eligible for the O-1B visa.

Awards and Other Prizes Can Also be Used as Evidence in a Petition with USCIS

USCIS will also accept evidence that the beneficiary has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field as support for the petition for the O-1B visa.  Awards and nominations may include the Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director's Guild Award.   The beneficiary of an O-1B petition may also provide evidence of at least (3) three of the following:

  • Proof of a performance or future performance as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation.  The reputation may be proved through providing supporting  publications, contracts, advertisements, reviews, news releases, or other types of endorsements.
  • Show that he or she achieved recognition for achievements at the  national or international level.  This may be proved by providing critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.
  • Proof of a performance or future performance  in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.  The reputation may be proved by citing and providing articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • Proof that a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed success was produced by the beneficiary.   This can be proved by referring to the 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.
  • Proof that the beneficiary received significant recognition for achievements.  This recognition should be from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged.  The testimonials  must clearly indicate 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.

The petitioner may also submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility if the above standards are not applicable to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts.  Please note that this exception does not apply to the motion picture or television industry.

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