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USCIS updates guidance for O-1 applicants

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Employment Immigration Visas

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released new guidelines on the eligibility of O-1A nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability. This information notably pertains to applicants from the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, or math. There are also changes in how the USCIS determines whether an O-1 applicant’s work qualifies as extraordinary ability or achievement, including sustained national or international acclaim.

While O-1 visa is appropriate for nonimmigrant temporary workers who are models, athletes, academics, business people or those in the film or television industry, USCIS’s policy update further explains the criteria and considerations when reviewing the evidence, particularly how these apply to the highly complex nature of the STEM fields.

It also emphasizes a standing rule where the petitioner may submit comparable evidence if the published O-1’s criteria do not suitably consider the applicant’s extraordinary ability. Moreover, evaluators will also note that the applicant is coming to the U.S. to work in the field of their unique ability as valid evidence of the approval.

Smart people can still ask for help

Those with questions or concerns regarding nonimmigrant visas like O-1A can turn to the USCIS websites, but the information is often confusing and overly broad. This recent policy update attempts to remedy this, but it could still be helpful for applicants to receive guidance if the evidence is STEM-related or does not fall into an easy categorization.