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The Importance of Letters of Recommendation

The letters of recommendation plays a crucial role in the O1 visa application process. It could be the final important layer of the case that wins you O1 status by showing that you have received significant recognition for achievement. The letters of recommendation for the O1 is different from one you may receive from an employer when seeking a new job. It will highlight key aspects of your experience, accomplishments, and extraordinary abilities and will clearly indicate the recommenders authority in your field.

Who to ask for a letter?

The author of the letters doesn’t necessarily have to come from your home country. He or she can be from anywhere in the world. If you are an actor, the letters could come from a fellow actor, director, producer, etc. However, the recommender doesn’t have to be in your field of expertise. Though, they will need to be an authority on your extraordinary abilities. They will need to testify to your abilities through either their work in a related field or by detailed knowledge of your career. The best people to ask will be your clients (former or current), employers, curators, collaborators, even friends. Though, when it comes to asking a friend for a letter, make sure that he or she can truly testify to your abilities. A lifetime friend, for instance, may not be the best authority to your professional experience in the same way a boss or a client might. In the case of a musician, they may ask a friend to write them a letter and their friend may write they are amazing and he or she listens to their album everyday. That’s great, but may not be sufficient for the government to grant them an O1 visa. Instead, the musician may want to seek out letters from a band manager, professional critic, or music producer. This notion also goes for professors. Try to limit the number of professors to one to two, as the USCIS is mostly interested in professional experience rather than your education.

How many letters?

When applying to a university, for instance, the institution may ask for a minimum of three letters of recommendation in order to qualify. Contrarily, for the O1 visa application, there’s no magic number for the amount of letters you need to submit. It’s highly recommended that you obtain anywhere from five to ten letters, but in the case of these letters, it’s quality over quantity. Five or six very strong letters of recommendation (ones from very reputable employers or notable clients) will build a stronger case than eight or nine relatively weak letters from say your friends or professors. Your O1 visa sponsor will be able to help you sift through your letters and pick the strongest ones for your case.

How to present the letters of recommendation

Once the letters are written, they will need to be printed on letterhead. The authors will also need to date and sign the letters. Regarding the signature, it doesn’t have to be an original signature done by pen and hand. A photocopy of the original will work fine here. Additionally, the recommenders should also include a resume or a succinct bio of themselves attached to the letter. This can be a short “about me” page to supplement the letters of recommendation so that the government can get a complete image of who the recommenders are and why their opinion should matter in regards to granting the applicant an O1 visa status.

Letter for Recommendation examples

Oct, 30, 2015

  O1 Visa

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Receiving An O-1 Visa Approval

The O-1 visa is a great option for those who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in their field of endeavor. In order to obtain an O-1 visa, one must be an alien with a demonstrated record of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. In order to prove that you […] Read more

Oct, 10, 2015

 
  O Visa

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H1B VS. O1 VISA

Though many similarities exist between the two non-immigrant visas: O1 and H-1B, there are three major differences to understand if you’re shopping around for the best visa for you. Depending on your situation, you may find that the O1 visa is the most beneficial to you.

Requirements for Obtaining O1 vs H-1B

In order to obtain an O1 visa, you must fall under the category of possessing “extraordinary” talents, illustrated through evidence such as receiving nominations or awards, scholarly publication or being recognized by the media or press. Contrarily, in order to obtain an H-1B visa, you do not have to show evidence of possessing exceptional ability in a field, but instead, you are employed to work in the U.S. temporarily in a “specialty” occupation. Specialty occupations are typically jobs in fields such as business, engineering, and math. Normally, you are also required to have received at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

Time-Limit

The H-1B visa is granted initially for a three-year period, with opportunities to extend your stay in the U.S. for another two years, and possibly one more. But, if you’re looking to extend your stay beyond that, you’re pretty much out of luck. Past that, you lose your legal alien status. However, the O1 is granted for an initial period of three years, with opportunities to extend your stay in the U.S. incrementally one year at a time. What’s great about the O1, is that the USCIS determines your length of stay by the nature of your work. Jobs in the creative field have the most leeway here, due to the fact that the length of time needed for projects is often unpredictable. The O1 alien status could be extended indefinitely if it’s determined that the employer has given sufficient evidence of their necessity to stay in the U.S. to work. How long you plan to stay in the U.S. and the nature of your work is something to consider when deciding with visa is correct for you.

Annual Quota

65,000 per year. That’s the annual quota for H-1B visas. Once that quota is met (usually before the year is up), very rarely are more applicants granted the H-1B visa, unless by the rare occurrence that they qualify for an H-1B cap-exemption. So, even if you have a strong case, you’re out of luck if the USCIS has met their annual quota. On the other hand, there is NO annual quota for the O1 visa. If you qualify for the O1 visa, it’s available to you no matter how many others the USCIS has granted in that year particular fiscal year. It will always be available to those who can meet the requirements. For those of you who meet the requirements for H-1B and have discovered that the quota has been filled, schedule a consultation to check if you might also qualify for the O1 visa.

Oct, 09, 2015

  O Visa

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Top 5 Myths about O1 Visas

Many people are unclear on what type of visa the O visa really is and what types of professions qualify for this non immigrant category. There are also many myths surrounding the O visa classification. Let’s discuss the top 5 myths about O1 visas.   The O1 Visa is Only for Artists and People in […] Read more

Oct, 02, 2015

  O1 Visa

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