The Artist Visa for Tech Creatives

With the demand for tech talent in the US on the upward trend with no signs of slowing down, it’s a good time to be a tech designer/developer. If you’re a web developer seeking to work in the U.S., you might want to think about the Artist Visa or O-1 as an alternative to the very limited and increasingly difficult to get H1-B visa. When thinking about applying for the O-1 (Artist Visa) here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Gather information, share the details.

Your O-1 application is proof of your exceptional talent and extraordinary ability. Samples of work, press mentions, and/or reviews of your work are necessary to provide evidence in support of your resume/CV. Be sure to include all the details in your application that demonstrate your awesomeness as a tech creative.

2. Demonstrate your celebrity status.

Show the products that you’ve designed or helped to create and also demonstrate – through favorable press or reviews – how well your design and development skills were received by the market and end consumer. For example, if the product is an app or website and your role was UI/UX design, you could demonstrate the “celebrity factor” of your work and role by including press hits, consumer reviews and/or public reports to show the impact your work has had in the media and with consumers.  Similarly, associate yourself with clients and employers of a high level of prestige and be prepared to describe them, starting in your CV.  

3. Portfolios for tech creatives may vary.

As you might expect and due to the nature of the work, there is not one set formula for a tech creative portfolio. What is important is to demonstrate the quality, impact of your work by project and/or product and also as an entire body of work. This will convey both the level of skill you possess, the consistency of your work, and the longevity and demand for your talent.  Most importantly, you want to think of the vast ways that can prove what you are describing in your CV/resume through electronic or printed documentation.  

4. Share your success stories. (it’s okay to brag a little bit)

For the immigration officer reviewing your application, assume that they are learning about you and your work for the very first time. It is up to you – with the help of your dedicated team at Lehach Filippa – to highlight and prove your level of eligibility. This is the time to share all your successes, your big wins, share your passion for your work, your accomplishments and acknowledgements.

The key differences between the Artist Visa O-1 and H1-B are...

Artist Visa O-1

H1-B Visa

No limit to the amount of visas allowed per year. Limited to 65,000 number of visas per year, with more added for some MA holders.
Must demonstrate elite, expert status in your chosen field, degree is often irrelevant. Must have a degree in the field of study that directly applies to your job function.
Must be able to demonstrate your “extraordinary abilities” in your field. (For examples read on here.) Position must also require specialized skill in combination with degree in your field of expertise.
Applications for the O-1 visa are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications for the H1-B visa are accepted on a rolling basis UNTIL the capped number is reached. Applications each year open on April 1 of every year and run out within days.
No minimum salary requirement. Must be paid at least the “prevailing” wage as decided by government databases.

To learn more about the distinctions between the two visas, check out a past post on the topic here

If you’re ready to take the next steps towards a visa application, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Together we can discuss and determine the best next steps for you and your immigration journey.