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 are extraordinary in your field is not an easy task. But, there are numerous stages you can take to assist in ensuring that your application for an O-1 visa is approved are as follows:
The most important thing that needs to be confirmed is that you have filled out the O-1 visa application, Form I-129 completely and accurately. Once completed the next important step is to make sure you have included all required documents into your application/portfolio. These documents include a written advisory opinion from a peer group, a copy of the written contract between you and your employer and agent if you file with one, and your itinerary. If you inadvertently fail to remember to include these documents, you may be at risk of having your application delayed or denied by the USCIS.
Provide adequate and compelling evidence
An essential step when filing your O-1 visa application is to incorporate adequate and compelling evidence that you are an international who has risen to the top of their field and is indeed extraordinary. The evidence needs to establish that you have received a major, internationally-recognized award or, if you have not won an award, you need to prove at least three other achievements listed in the USCIS criterias.
When collecting your evidence, it is important to keep in mind that the immigration officer reviewing your application has a limited time to look over everything that you have included. For that reason, you want to make sure that you do not include needless items in your package. On the other hand, it is very important to include a vast amount of information and documented evidence for each of your achievements in your field. Once your application package is completed, it is not strange for it to be about 500-1000 pages.
The type of acceptable evidence to include for each one of your accomplishments will vary. For example if you have won awards in your field you should include:
• Names of previous award recipients
• Criteria used to grant the award
• Significance of the award
• Reputation of the organization granting the award
• Who is considered for the award, including geographic scope
• How many prizes are awarded each year
Putting yourself in the shoes of the immigration officer reviewing your case would be a great idea when completing your application. You need to present him or her with satisfactory evidence to not only prove that you received an award, but you need to show the importance of your achievement. Your evidence should explain why the immigration officer ought to be concerned about what you have accomplished. You need to make clear the significance, reputation, etc. of your work. This can be done in several ways, depending on what your achievements are. Some examples to include are press releases, articles in recognized newspapers or magazines, reviews, sales numbers, citation counts, etc.
The more information that you include upfront in your initial application, the less likely it is that you will receive a Request for Evidence from (USCIS). Your best probability of having your O-1 visa accepted is to have sufficient evidence of your achievements presented to the immigration officer who originally reviews your application. In fact, it is always a good idea to give them too much information and documented evidence than not enough. You would like the officer to be able to put in the picture that you have reached a high level of attainment and acclaim in your field by scanning through the evidence you provided.
Present your evidence in an organized manner
Another important thing to remember is the organization and preparation of your evidence. Even if you include overwhelming evidence for each one of your accomplishments, if it is unorganized, messy, and not adequately labeled, the immigration officer will not have enough time to find what he or she needs to see in order to approve your application. Therefore, it is imperative to cautiously present your evidence in a clear and concise way. It is a great idea to label each item of evidence, listed in order of importance, and then create a Table of Contents, making it easy for the immigration officer to not only know exactly what you have included but to easily flip to that evidence to review.
The letter that you should include along with your application should also be detailed yet concise and easy to follow. You must keep in mind that the immigration officer reviewing your application will likely not have a deep understanding of the type of work that you do. Therefore, you need to be able to describe your job, accomplishments, and impact in your field in layman terms.
Following these simple steps will help guarantee the best result for your O-1 visa case. You want the immigration officer reviewing your application to have an easy time checking all the requirements for approval. If, however, you do receive a Request for Evidence from USCIS, you should follow the same steps when you submit your response to that request.