Under § Sec. 214.2(o) To qualify as an alien of extraordinary ability in the field of arts, the alien must be recognized as being prominent in his or her field of endeavor as demonstrated by the following:
(A) Evidence that the alien has been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director's Guild Award; or
(B) At least three of the following forms of documentation:
( 1 ) Evidence that the alien has 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;
( 2 ) Evidence that the alien has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
( 3 ) Evidence that the alien has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
( 4 ) Evidence that the alien has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, 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;
( 5 ) Evidence that the alien has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien's achievements; or
( 6 ) Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence; or
(C) If the criteria in paragraph (o)(3)(iv) of this section do not readily apply to the beneficiary's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary's eligibility.
So for the second evidentiary criteria, an applicant must show “that the alien has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications”. An applicant must demonstrate that they meet all of the requirements laid out in each evidentiary criteria section before USCIS will count that criteria as met. Here are the key points an applicant should note when determining whether or not they can meet this criteria.
“National or International Recognition”
This part means that the beneficiary must have national or international coverage about them or their work. This would include interviews, or articles about the beneficiary or their current work. The media could also be published in the United States or abroad. Ideally, the press should name the beneficiary or at least the production they are involved in.
“Evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual”
This is the form that the coverage takes. Ideally, a review from the New York Times would be the best form of evidence. However, “other published materials” provides an avenue for an artist to essentially provide any and all forms of press coverage including advertisements.
“Major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications”
The key word in this section is “major”. USCIS has routinely held that the media outlets must be major in nature, and not just the newspapers. So how do you prove that a media outlet is “major”? Typically, USCIS wants circulation numbers. The more the media is circulated the more likely that it will be considered major. Blogs may be considered “major” if it is read by large numbers of people.
In short, if an applicant can demonstrate that they have “national or international recognition” as “evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual” in “major media”, they should be able to qualify for this evidentiary criteria.
For more information about the O1 / Artist visa check out our O1 / Artist Visa Application Guide and O1 / Artist Visa Immigration FAQ.
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