O1 ARTIST VISA TOP DENIAL REASONS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
First, you have to file Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker before USCIS and convince them that you are extraordinary and therefore meet the requirements. After your Form I-129 has been approved, you will need to take the approval notice, leave the United States, and go to a US consulate abroad for an interview in order to get the visa in your passport. This means that immigration has two opportunities to deny you if they think that you are not able to meet the requirements of the O1 / artist visa.
Just because USCIS approves your Form I-129, it does not mean that you will automatically pass the interview at the consulate. In this blog post, we will first take a look at the top five reasons why USCIS may deny your Form I-129 application, and the top five reason why a US consulate may also deny your O1 / artist visa application:
TOP 5 REASONS WHY USCIS MAY DENY YOUR O1 / ARTIST VISA
1. YOU DON’T HAVE A PETITIONER
A proper petitioner is a US citizen or US based company, working in the field. The petitioner must also sign off on all relevant documentation in your application. If the application lacks the specific signatures (and some have to be original), your case maybe denied. If you have not already, check out our post on O1 / Artist Visa Sponsor / Petitioner Basics.
2. YOUR CONTRACTS/ITINERARY ARE SPECULATIVE
If your contracts lack specific information such as omitting the length of engagement, amount of compensation, or address of the employer, and where the work will take place, immigration may find that your contract is speculative. Another reason why immigration may take issue with your contract, is because compensation is dependent on some other factors such as getting funding from a large corporation.
In addition, if there are large gaps in between engagements on your itinerary, USCIS might find that the duration of the entire period to be speculative. If so, it is most likely you will get a denial. Therefore, in order to avoid this, make sure that your contracts and itinerary are fully fleshed out with lots of details. Also, the contracts need to be signed by all the relevant parties. If you are missing signatures, an immigration officer might find that your contract is not legitimate, and therefore deny your case, or shorten the duration that you might have on the O1 / Artist visa. If you have not already, check out our post onO1 / Artist Visa Contracts and Itinerary Basics.
3. YOU LACK THE CREDITS
Although immigration does not set a specific number for the number credits eligible for the O1 / Artist visa, I think having 10 credits is a good place to start. But that also depends on the quality of the credits and documentation. It is possible to have a successful O1 / Artist visa application with less than 10, but it really depends on how impressive those credits are.
Similarly, if you have more than 10, but the credits are not that outstanding, you may still have a problem. It is best practice to consult with an immigration attorney before you apply in order to get a good sense of whether you can make it or not.
It should also be noted that if you do apply and are denied, subsequent applications will be much harder because you were denied previously. So sometimes the best option is to leave the United States for a period of time, work on building up in your portfolio, and then applying when you have a stronger case.
I always asked my potential clients: “What is your long term goal?” This is because if your long term goal is to live and work in the United States, taking one or two years to really build your credits and portfolio is a short period of time compared to living and working in the United States for the rest of your life. So make sure that before applying, are you have what it takes so that you are not wasting your time and money, or worse making it harder to enter the United States at a later time.
4. YOUR CREDITS ARE NOT SUSTAINED
However, if your career has only lasted a few months it is unlikely that you will succeed. This means that if you suddenly obtained a few credits in several months, you may still not be eligible for the visa because it does not demonstrate a career that has lasted over a long period of time. So if you are just starting out, it might just be better for you to leave the United States for a period of time in order to build up your credits.
5. YOU DIDN’T PROVIDE SUFFICIENT DOCUMENTATION OR YOUR DOCUMENTS ARE NOT ORGANIZED
Sometimes, I review cases from clients who have worked with other attorneys, or have decided to file the application themselves. The clients may have sufficient work experience, but unfortunately the case was presented in a haphazard manner, which was confusing for the immigration officer.
It is very important to document every eligible role in your work history, as well as present them to the immigration office in a easy to read format. If you do not have a cover letter with the application explaining why you meet all the requirements, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Another tip is to arrange the documents and provide exhibit tabs so that the immigration officer will be able to access the documents quickly and easily.
So let’s say you get approved, now what?
TOP 5 REASONS WHY THE US CONSULATE MAY DENY YOUR O1 / ARTIST VISA
1. GOOGLE CANNOT FIND YOU
2. YOU HAVE CRIMINAL ISSUES OR ARE OTHERWISE INADMISSIBLE
Even if you think a criminal case has been sealed, they will still be able to see this information. So please don’t lie to the immigration officer. They have more information about you then you think they do. If you lie and then they find out, immigration may deem you too have committed fraud on them, which may result in you getting barred from the United States permanently.
If you do have criminal issues, or are otherwise inadmissible, please contact an immigration attorney immediately in order to evaluate your options.
3. YOU ADMIT THAT YOU ARE NOT EXTRAORDINARY
4. YOU ADMIT YOU ARE ENTERING FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE
For example, if you are applying for the O1 / Artist visa, and you tell the officer that you will be entering the country to start a business, the immigration officer will most likely deny your application. And remember we talked about the contracts and in the itinerary section? The immigration officer may also ask you questions relating to your current employment. Make sure you read the contract and the itinerary thoroughly so that you can answer any questions related to your employment now or in the future.
5. POOR ENGLISH SPEAKING SKILLS
For more information about the O1 / Artist visa check out our O1 / Artist Visa Application Guide and O1 / Artist Visa Immigration FAQ.
Immigration law can be convoluted and complex. At the Law Offices of Marcus Yi, our NYC based lawyers are devoted to guiding you through US immigration law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.