So you want to come and work in America?
In South America, an award-winning artist dreams of his own exhibit in New York City, in Tokyo a distinguished fashion designer hopes to spread her clothing line to Los Angeles and in Paris, an author is determined to advance his decorated career in the States.
Each year America welcomes a new round of professionals in the creative field, to come and work and advance their careers through the O-1 Visa; otherwise referred to as the Artist’s Visa or the visa for people with extraordinary talents and or gifts.
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, To qualify for an O-1 visa, the professional must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
Many people are a lot more extraordinary than they think, and it usually comes down to a matter of organization of their prior experience, and getting the right information about the long and complicated process of obtaining an O-1 Visa.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re seriously looking at the O-1 Visa as your next career move:
● Are you extraordinary? Do you have any awards in your field from a contest you entered or a competition you were in? Are you published? Do you have anything that says that you are good at what you do? Don’t overlook even the smallest recognition you received in the past; any of those things can make your case of being extraordinary stronger. Keep anything and everything that may be evidence to prove your extraordinary abilities.
● Do you know anyone in the United States who could act as a sponsor? When applying for the O-1 Visa, the candidate must have a sponsor. Think of a co-worker, or friend who could act as your sponsor and vouch for your professional abilities. If you don’t have anyone, research some U.S. entities willing to act as your sponsor. For ex: modeling agency, future employer, sponsorship/visa company like Stern Deeds.
● Seek legal advice or counsel or look to a company that can assist you in the process of getting an O-1 visa. The process can be done alone if a person really wants, but considering getting help will take some stress off, especially since this is an extremely complicated process and requires distinct legal jargon.
● Letters of Recommendation, think of anyone willing to write you a letter of recommendation–this adds to the evidence for your claim of being extraordinary.
● Research–the more you know about the process, the less stressful it will be. Communicate when you are confused about something, ask a lot of questions and read up on the latest O-1 Visa news. A simple online search will provide you with a lot of information.
● Relax, trust the process and the people working with you through it. Not many people get denied right off the bat, they get what is called an RFE (Request for more Evidence) which just means you’re off to a great start, but need a little more.
Some resources, where you can read up about the O-1 Visa, are the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website (uscis.gov) or visit sterndeeds.com and schedule a consultation.