Have You Played a Leading or Starring Role in a Distinguished Production or Event?
B) By documentation of at least three of the following accomplishments:
1. Services, performed and to be performed, 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; 101(a)(15)(o) and 8 CFR § Sec. 214(o).
Although the O1 visa covers practically all professions science, business, arts and athletics sometimes the categories as listed have really been shaped for certain types of professions, one really has to read the wording very carefully without being overwhelmed. In this category we have to look at marry to key elements here: the services that you have in the past or will perform in the future are themselves leading or starring in nature and the distinguished reputation of the organization for whom you have or will perform these services.
By way of an example, you may have the starring role in a Shakespeare play but if the performance is being shown at the local parish church fate to raise money for a new roof then sure you would be definitely playing a leading role but the organization (no disrespect to local parish churches) is hardly distinguished in this context. By contrast if you had the leading or starring role in a Shakespeare production with the Royal Shakespeare Company at their historic home theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon or in London at the Barbican then here you have both the leading and starring role and the distinguished reputation elements perfectly in sync for the purposes of this O1 visa category.
As you can see it’s very important to look at your various roles particularly in the Arts and Entertainment generally to consider your performances over the years, the organizations and venues to see how they might best fit this category.
It is also worth highlighting that the O1 visa B1 category is looking at your performances in productions or events. By comparison the O1 visa B3 category is looking at the alien’s work for the organization as a whole. I’ll quickly discuss the O1 visa B3 category here for ease of discussion and comparison.
O1 visa category B3 – Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as shown by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials
This category as will be discussed is probing roles that might be behind the scenes of a distinguished company. Categories 1 and 3 appear very similar indeed but the settled opinion appears to be that for the 1st category the emphasis in on the star players performances and the 3rd category is focused on the key members of the production team that made the production or event possible for the distinguished organization.
Whether you’re in categories 1 or 3 for O1 visa purposes USCIS is looking for evidence to support any such claim in the form of articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials, not letters or testimonials. For this category USCIS is looking for evidence of popular acclaim: fame; your role and performances are such that they generate column inches in the press.
I have many clients that have been so modest in their careers that they may not have garnered as much press as they might have had they made an effort. My advice has always been that anyone can create press coverage if they put their mind to it – it’s called generating some buzz about yourself. If you’re serious and have the money it might even be worth hiring a publicist for a couple of months to help you get some buzz in the press going. There are so many professional journals that would love to write a story about you to inspire their readership. In truth, this is what we are looking to do; write up some of successful O1 visa cases inspire you.
Make some notes about this category if you feel this might be one of the three categories from the list you might be interested in pursing. I can’t wait to hear from you with your summary.
By US Immigration Attorney Chris M Ingram
101(a)(15)(o) and 8 CFR § Sec. 214(o)
O1 Visa Specialist
Other Chapters O1 Visa Categories:
(A) National Award Nomination or Win –
(B) 1: Leading Role In Event or Production –
(B) 2: Critical Reviews in Press –
(B) 3: Major Role in Distinguished Co' –
(B) 4: Vital Role on Successful Project –
(B) 5: Recognition From Experts & Critics –
(B) 6: High Salary / Remuneration –
(B) 7: Other Evidence of Extraordinary Ability –
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