1. Cover letter
One of the top mistakes in filing an Artist Visa application is the failure to include a detailed cover letter. A cover letter is the essential roadmap for an immigration officer to follow, hopefully leading them to the conclusion that you are truly an artist of extraordinary ability. A good cover letter should include the bio of the petitioner, a detailed job description, an explanation of why you meet all the evidentiary criteria necessary to prove extraordinary ability, and the table of contents for all materials provided. For a basic sample cover letter please go here.
2. Fill out all forms properly
This might sound like a no-brainer to you, but the most common reason why applications get rejected and returned to the petitioner is due to improperly filled out forms. If you are filing for the artist visa you will need to fill out form I-129. Make sure that all fields are completely filled out. Any signatures must be signed in blue ink. You do not want your application to be returned to you simply because the immigration officer thinks that your signatures are not original, especially if your application is time sensitive.
3. Job description
Every single cover letter should include a detailed job description. The job description is essential to defining the scope of your employment in the United States. A well written job description will allow an artist the maximum amount of freedom in practicing his, or her art, without limiting the type of work that they can do in the United States. However, a vague job description make confuse the immigration officer and lead them to question whether or not the O1B visa is appropriate for you.
4. Arrange supporting evidence neatly
All supporting evidence must be attached in a manner that is easy to access and read. I recommend using legal tabs that stick out at the bottom to properly arrange your evidence. Do not use tabs that stick out at the side, as it makes it difficult for the immigration officer to file your application. If you have any supporting evidence that is in a foreign language, ensure that all translations are attached. All translations must be accompanied with an affidavit from the translator certifying that the translation is accurate and true to the best of their knowledge.
5. Use a mail service that you can track
It is very important for you to be able to track your package once you mail it out. USCIS recommends using FedEx but UPS is fine too. The most important thing is that you are able to track your package every step of the way, as well as receive confirmation that it has been received. This is especially important for applications that need to meet a tight deadline. Before I send out an application package, I like to use a marker pen to write the words "O1B Visa" on it so the folks at the mail room can get it to the appropriate immigration officer.
6. Pay the correct filing fee
USCIS requires that you pay the correct filing fee, if not they will reject your application and return it to you. Generally the filing fee for an Artist Visa / O1B visa is $ 460. However, you should always check the latest filing fees with USCIS. Checks should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security not USCIS. Do not send cash.
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, we are NYC based O1 / Artist Visa lawyers devoted to guiding you through US immigration law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.