If you’re in the market for an O1 visa, you may have stumbled across something in the approval process known as an “advisory opinion.”
It’s very judicial sounding, but it’s simply another way for the USCIS to confirm without question that the applicant not only possesses the required extraordinary talent to be approved for an O1 visa, but also that the position itself requires extraordinary ability. Basically, an applicant must go through a special consultation process, which entails receiving an advisory opinion from a peer group.
Who or what is considered a peer group?
This can be a group of professionals in the applicant’s occupation or career field, or union, labor, or management organization. For instance, if you’re in the motion picture industry, you or a sponsor would seek out the labor union with jurisdiction over the work at issue.
What is it?
Some readers may still be asking, “Ok, but what is it?” It’s a letter from a peer group mentioned above, which states and confirms that the position the applicant will hold requires extraordinary ability. The USCIS can look at the opinion and determine that only an individual with outstanding abilities in their field could fulfill the duties of the position.
No advisory opinion?
If an application does not include a written letter from a peer group, the USCIS will be forced to seek out a peer group for consultation. If they’re unable to contact one directly or if one simply doesn’t exist, then a decision by the USCIS will have to be made regarding an applicant’s approval without an advisory opinion. So, in essence, an advisory opinion could end up being detrimental to an applicant’s case, BUT if a petitioner can prove that an appropriate entity (peer group) does not exist to provide an advisory opinion, then it won’t be necessary to include one in the application. This also goes for applicants who are seeking expeditious handling of the 01 visa application.