O-1B Visa: Artists & Entertainers
The O-1B category is for individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means a high level of achievement in the field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person is described as prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known.
Extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry is defined as a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading.
Qualifying for O-1B Status
To qualify for O-1B status, a beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability or achievement by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in their area of extraordinary ability.
There are two ways to demonstrate extraordinary ability/achievement. The first is by providing evidence that the beneficiary has received or been nominated for a significant national or international award in the field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or Director’s Guild Award.
The second way is by providing evidence that the beneficiary satisfies at least three of the following alternate eligibility criteria:
- Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
- Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about you in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
- Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
- A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as 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;
- Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which you are engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements; and
- A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence.
Furthermore, when the evidentiary requirements above are satisfied, an officer proceeds to evaluate the totality of all the evidence in the record to determine whether it establishes that the:
- O-1B (Arts) beneficiary has sustained national or international acclaim and has achieved a high level of achievement in the field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person is described as prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known; or
- O-1B (MPTV) beneficiary has a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture and television industry such that he or she has a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that the person is recognized as outstanding, notable, or leading.
If the reviewing officer determines that the beneficiary has failed to meet these standards, even if the evidence provided satisfies the eligibility criteria, it can be determined that the beneficiary is not a person of extraordinary ability or achievement and does not qualify for O-1 status.
Upcoming Work in the United States
An O-1 beneficiary must demonstrate that he or she has worked lined up in the U.S. Speculative engagements are not permissible. In other words, a beneficiary cannot obtain an O-1 visa to “look” for jobs. It must be shown at the time of filing that a U.S. employer or agent has specific work events in place for the entire period requested (maximum three years).
The U.S. Sponsor
The O-1 category does not permit self-sponsorship, and it is not a freelance visa. An application must be filed by a U.S. employer or agent. An agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent. It is also important to note that the agent does not need to demonstrate that it serves as an agent outside the context of filing the beneficiary’s O-1 petition.
All O-1 applications require a consultation from a peer group, labor union, and/or management organization. The source and contents of the consultation vary based on the type of O-1 petition:
- O-1B Arts: Must provide a consultation in the form of an advisory opinion from a U.S. “peer group” in the beneficiary’s field (may include a labor organization) or a person or persons with expertise in the area of the beneficiary’s ability. The contents should, if favorable, describe the beneficiary’s ability and achievements in the field of endeavor, describe the nature of the duties to be performed, and state whether the position requires the services of a person of extraordinary ability, or may state “no objection.”
- O-1B MPTV: Must provide consultations in the form of advisory opinions from both the union representing the beneficiary’s occupational peers and a management organization in the beneficiary’s field. The contents may include statements describing the beneficiary’s achievements in motion picture or television productions and whether the proposed position requires the services of a person of extraordinary achievement, or may state “no objection.”If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist, a decision will be based on the evidence filed.
The Berardi Advantage
We take a full-service approach to O-1 application. We outline all necessary documentation, prepare your entire application packet, and submit everything to the government on your behalf. We also track your case as it progresses and coordinate scheduling and rescheduling of appointments with the government. Your case is important to us, and it’s our job to make this process as simple as possible.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns relating to the information provided. We look forward to working with you on this very important matter.