Many outstanding workers living in various countries around the world pursue positions and opportunities in the U.S. every year and make the decision to apply for an O1 visa. While numerous applicants already meet certain qualifications that would satisfy the evidence necessary for the USCIS to deem a worker “extraordinary,” there are countless others who haven’t put the package together yet. If you’re considering coming to work in the U.S. under either an O1A or O1B visa, you can begin working on various aspects of your resume and qualifications.
Start Applying for Awards in Your Field
This doesn’t have to be an Oscar, Grammy or Nobel Prize (Though, those are approved). As long as the pool of participants comes from a national or international level, it will be approved. Artists: You can also apply for grants from Fulbright, the NEA, etc. Remember that it’s not necessary to win, but if you do happen to receive an award, provide statistics: Who were the judges and how many applied or were nominated for the award?
You’re Going to Need Press
This will be a crucial step to proving to the USCIS that you have “extraordinary” talent. Published reviews, interviews, etc. Media coverage will go a long way in showing case officers you’re nationally (or possibly internationally) recognized. Usually, your talents will speak for themselves and the press will naturally gravitate towards you, but in some cases, you may need to seek out the press and garner that attention needed to qualify for an O1 visa.
Become a Member
A relatively painless step to preparing for your O1 is simply applying for memberships in your field. The catch is that the membership must require achievement from its members. Paying annual dues and merely being a “member” won’t cut it.
Work as a Judge
One of the elements of the approval process that a case officer will review is your ability to evaluate others’ work. In preparation for an O1, you can work as a judge and be the one who decides who wins a particular award, work on a panel and give out grants and scholarships, or even evaluate student portfolios at a university.
What have you brought to your field? Whether it be outstanding research or impeccable architectural design, you will need to sit down and seriously evaluate your own work and consider what you have contributed to your field. The contribution will need to have major significance to your career field.
If you’re seriously considering pursuing an O1 visa, getting started on checking off these qualifications will give you an advantage once you’re ready to apply and possibly facilitate a quicker response/approval time from the USCIS.