O1B Visa Events
O1B Visa Events is met if the applicant has performed and will perform as a lead participant in events which have a distinguished reputation.This law can be broken down into (2) main parts. Part one has performed, in events, as a lead, and the event had a distinguished reputation. Part two will perform, in events, as a lead, and the event had a distinguished reputation.
In order to meet this criteria, it’s important to consider the following information for events in which they were a ‘lead’ or ’star’.
Name of Event
Organization Hosting Event
This tangible information matches up with the actual law in the following way. Part one: Has performed = = > Date, In events = = > Name of Event, As a lead = = > Your Role, The events had a distinguished reputation = = >, Organization Hosting Event, Name of Event. Part two: Will perform = = > Date, In events = = > Name of Event, As a lead = = > Your Role, The events had a distinguished reputation = = > Organization Hosting Event, Name of Event.
In order to prove to the USCIS you can prove by matching up the following: (1), the applicant has performed and will perform in events. This category also goes to the overall criteria of “being at the top of your field”.
For In terms of match-up (1), USCIS is looking to see that you have events in the past and planned events in the future.
In terms of “being at the top of your field”, USCIS is looking for people who have a long steady incline of success, and are applying while at the very top. (Preferably, you would have several events, steadily getting more and more “distinguished”, with the most recent being in the past six months.) You can prove this by putting the dates of the events in the application. For example, being in a major film is great! However, if that show was 10 years ago and you haven’t done anything since, problems will arise.
Event: This category proves match-up (1A), the applicant has performed in events, and (2), the events have a distinguished reputation.
What USCIS Is Looking For: Distinguished Reputation is a phrase that USCIS has invented, and doesn’t give an explanation of the meaning. It’s very unclear, and because it is applied to different categories for different purposes, which can make it confusing. USCIS will consider events that have gotten a lot of press and/ or made a lot of money to have “distinguished reputations”
Proving that an event has a lot of press is easy in terms of an O1B visa application. We use Lexis Nexis Media searches, but there are many other search engines that one could use. Once you pull up all the media on the organization, you want to focus on “major media”. Newspapers > Blogs, the higher the circulation the better. Occasionally the profits of an event will also show up. For example, the fashion show you were involved in as a model coach was reviewed in The New York Times.
Your role: This category proves match-up (1B), applicants have been in an event as a lead.
What USCIS Is Looking For: In USCIS’s mind, the farther along in your career you are, the more “major” roles you play. In acting, this is easy, who has the most lines, etc… When it comes to non-acting, it can be tricky
It’s helpful to look at a similar category in O-1A Visas, which says “critical capacity” instead of “star” or “lead”. While star and lead are very specific terms that are hard to expand, critical capacity applies to a lot of job fields. USCIS understands that “lead” and “star” are ridiculous, criteria, and they do accept critical capacity for both O-1A and O-1B. A good way to test for critical capacity is to think- if your job title/ role was eliminated, would the project still work? Another way would be- are there people in the project who do the same thing as you, but aren’t as senior? So what USCIS is ultimately looking for, that you have “risen to the top”.
Sometimes a title itself show that a person is a lead. Other times, you have to dig a bit further. It’s helpful to look at how many people are in the production. If it’s a big production, then there are going to be main and minor players. However, if it’s a small production, it’s possible everyone is the main player. Any time that someone has your job, but is less senior, that’s a great thing to show USCIS. If you are in the press for a project, then you are also likely a lead player. Think not just newspaper articles, but flyers, pamphlets, and press releases. Physical evidence can also help. A picture of you front and center on a stage would be of great help. For examples, using the tests we outlined above, let’s go through some examples:
If your job title/ role was eliminated, would it work?
Othello (in Othello) is a lead.
Nun #3 (in Othello) is not a lead.
Singer (in Band) is a lead.
Singer (# 124 in a large marching band) is not a lead.
Are there people in the project who do the same thing as you, but aren’t as senior?
Trumpet Player (1st chair) is a lead.
Trumpet Player (4th chair) is not a lead.
Organization Hosting Event: This category proves match-up (3), the applicant has performed and will perform as a lead participant for organizations which have a distinguished reputation.
What USCIS Is Looking For [See above] distinguished reputation
How to Prove It [See above] Press
One of the best things to use with Organization proving is guilty by association. With this, you show other events put on by the same organization, which also match the criteria. For example, guilty by association reference would be saying that your event was at the same skating rink they used for the Olympics.
This criteria is a level 3 difficulty. The hardest part is proving not just that you were in an event, but that you were an actual “lead”.