As adults we often don’t get to ask the question, “do you have super powers?” Those statements seem to be relegated to our childhood and conjure up images of Superman, The Hulk or the Fantastic Four. However, you might be surprised to know that at an immigration law firm a big part of our job is helping creative super heroes – wanting to flex their creative muscles in the United States – to demonstrate and prove their extraordinary abilities. We know what you’re thinking law firm and super heroes, they don’t normally go to together, but think about this for a moment…
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate and possess extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
As the immigration law firm for creative professionals, we spend a lot of time working with our clients to navigate the O-1 visa (often referred to as the “artist visa”) process. When we start talking about forms, paperwork, resumes, portfolios, it can start to seem like an arduous process (and without a proper guide it can be!) but it’s part of the mission to highlight your creative talent, skill and expertise and prove your extraordinary ability or achievement. You can think of it as a campaign to prove your super hero status.
In order to prove your extraordinary ability and your mission should you choose to accept it…
Step 1: prove your super power status.
This can be done with a resume, portfolio, recommendations (tip: refer to past Lehach Filippa blog posts on visa by creative type or industry for more details).
Step 2: prove sponsorship in the United States.
During the information gathering process of step 1, it’s helpful to think about how to structure your application given the audience or in this case the US immigration officers that will be reviewing your application.
We’ve put together the top five questions that you should be prepared to answer in detail within your extended CV/resume document:
1. How much have you done?
At first, sheer quantity of the work you have done will be a consideration so build a detailed resume. That means everything you have done in your career or chosen field going back to when you were a super-hero-in-training. Don’t forget to include the work you have done outside of the United States which is equally as important.
2. Who have you worked with? Or more accurately which experts in your field have you collaborated with?
This is where you start associating yourself with extraordinary people in your industry. Starting with the resume, tell us about these individuals, explain their importance or influence on your chosen industry. In other words, don’t simply name a director, artist, curator or choreographer you have worked with without explaining who they are and putting them in context.
3. Where have you worked?
Similar to the second question, who you have worked with and where are big indicators in the visa process. Be sure to list and describe in your detailed resume/CV the venues, festivals, galleries and locations where you have performed or your work has been exhibited.
4. How much attention have you received?
Think press, media and awards. Our clients commonly want to know how much press is necessary. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this but what is important is to find balance of both the quantity and quality of the press. For example, one page in a very well circulated newspaper might be worth twenty smaller circulation blog or social media posts.
5. What was your role in these projects?
Or more simply put, how much of a contribution did you make to the final product. Were you an assistant, intern or supporting member? Or were you the lead, a principal or a soloist? The more exposure and responsibility you had, the more of an indicator of your abilities (or super powers)!
So there you have it. Five steps to becoming recognized for the super hero that you are! Have more questions and/or are ready to move forward in the artist visa process? Great, then let’s join forces and make an appointment with our member of our super hero team by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.