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 fourth evidentiary criteria, an applicant must show “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.” Furthermore, the “testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien's achievements”.
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:
“Testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author's authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien's achievements”
This part is essentially asking for letters of recommendation. However, the quality of the letters is what will determine if you meet this criterion. Essential elements of all letters of recommendation include a bio of the author, and how they know the beneficiary’s work. Letters that do not have the author’s bio must be substantiated with supplemental evidence to prove the author’s authority.
“Experts in the field”
The authors writing the letters must be considered experts in the field. The bar to being considered an expert is actually pretty low. As long as the person can demonstrate that they have been working in the field for several years, they may be considered an expert.
“Significant recognition for achievements”
It is not enough for an author to simply state that the beneficiary is talented and should be given the visa. The author must explain with examples what the beneficiary has achieved, and what type of recognition they have received.
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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