Getting an O-1 Visa to work in the United States is a dream for many professionals worldwide. But before you get an O-1 Visa, you need to tick all the boxes on a list of very specific requirements determined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The O-1 Visa is granted to you if you can demonstrate extraordinary abilities in your field. What does that mean? You can show the USCIS that when it comes to your profession, you’re a cut above everyone else. And you need to supply evidence that there is no one else who is just as good as you are at what you do.
So how can you do that? A very crucial way is getting published articles placed about just what’s so special about you. And if you are a talented individual who wants to apply for an O-1 Visa, it's a great way to showcase your expertise.
If you’re breaking out in a cold sweat about how you could firstly write about yourself and secondly get anyone to take an article, here’s everything you need to know (including a link at the bottom to someone who can help write them for you!).
What Are the Requirements for an O-1 Visa?
The USCIS defines “extraordinary ability” as reaching the pinnacle of your profession, placing you among the top few individuals.
You may qualify for an O-1 VISA if you have published content in major trade, media, or professional publications about the beneficiary and their work in your field
This is the important caveat – articles about your company won’t cut it. The article has to be about you and YOUR skills. This material should be published in a reputable trade, media, or professional publication. This also includes websites. Essentially, it needs to showcase that your work has gained national or international recognition in your particular area.
Another important requirement for the O-1 visa is a consultation with a peer group.’ This includes being on an advisory board, a labour organisation, or a union that can vouch for your exceptional skills.
What Evidence Do You Need for an O-1 Visa?
When applying for an O-1 visa, you must provide evidence of published materials demonstrating national or international recognition in your field. This can include web links or PDFs of articles, which your lawyer can include in your visa application packet. You will also need statistics to demonstrate circulation.
Published materials are not the only evidence you can provide to demonstrate your ability, but they are essential.
You can also provide evidence of awards, media recognition, and other relevant documentation that proves your extraordinary ability.
How Many Articles Do You Need for an O-1 Visa?
The USCIS does not specify how many published materials you need for an O-1 visa.
You can go down two routes to get the green light on your visa with your article submissions. You can go for high volume and lower circulation numbers or high circulation numbers and fewer published materials.
If you are going for volume (multiple articles), don’t even consider a website or publication that has less than 500,000 unique visitors a month. And you should have at least four pieces in your application minimum.
If you are going for numbers, you can go for the big leagues, which would be over 10 million unique visitors monthly. However, it is harder to get a piece in the New York Times (153 unique visitors a month) than it is for a site with much lower numbers.
What Are Major Trade Publications?
Major trade publications are magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets focused on specialised industries, such as healthcare, finance, technology, or law. Appearing in major trade publications is an excellent way to demonstrate your professional accomplishments and gain credibility in your field.
However, if they are in print, they can often have long lead times, meaning you need to get the article to them months before the piece appears in print.
What Are Major Media Publications?
Major media publications are widely recognised news sources with an international reach, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or The Guardian, among others, as well as TV networks and digital news outlets. Being featured in a major media publication provides significant evidence for national or international recognition and can benefit your visa application process.
What Are Professional Publications?
Professional publications are academic journals or other scholarly publications in a specific field. The article has to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise, and research findings in your respective field.
What Is National or International Recognition?
National or international recognition refers to the degree of recognition earned by your work in your respective field. Every industry has its standards and criteria, although there are no specific regulations regarding the level of recognition that U.S. visa applicants must meet.
Tips for Gathering and Presenting Evidence
The key to a successful O-1 visa application focusing on national or international recognition and major publications is to prepare meticulous documentation. Plan well, gather all the necessary evidence, and make a strong case by demonstrating your achievements.
When creating your articles, think about writing completely unique pieces showcasing how you are great at what you do and incredibly knowledgeable.
Here are some examples of what you could get published if you are a comedian:
- One or more ‘interview’ style pieces (both different) discussing how and why you became a comedian, your training, mentorships and panels you have been on. Include quotes from people who have worked with you
- A Beginners Guide To Making Money From Being Funny (first person)
- Things You Need To Know About Being A Comedian (expert rundown)
- A Comedian's Guide To Being A Comedian
How Many Citations Are Good for an O-1 Visa?
The USCIS does not specify the number of citations required for an O-1 visa. However, the more citations in your publications demonstrating how you have been recognised for your work, the better.
The USCIS also accepts evidence of national or international recognition. This can include the receipt of a major internationally recognised award, such as the Nobel Prize, or at least three of the following:
- Membership in associations that require evidence of outstanding achievements
- Published materials about you in professional or other major media publications
- Participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or a similar field
- Original contributions of major significance to the field
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Other evidence of your outstanding achievements in your respective field
Can a Writer Get an O-1 Visa?
Yes! As a writer, you must prove that your work holds significant importance. This can include showcasing your book sales, bylines in prestigious media publications, or articles that have got you substantial attention.
How can I get help with published materials?
An O-1 visa opens doors to talented professionals worldwide who want to work and live in the United States. Although getting an O-1 visa requires several requirements, having published material is an essential one. It’s also one that is often overlooked.
Zoe Nauman is the founder of Immigration Articles Made Easy. She has over 25 years of experience as a journalist and editor. Zoe works with visa applicants and immigration attorneys to get articles published that showcase exactly what is necessary to get an O-1 visa application granted. She has a 100% success rate.
You can email her [email protected] for more information. Tell her America Josh sent you!