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I would like to apply for an O1A visa. Can I submit media articles reporting on the achievements of a team I was a part of, but my name is not mentioned?

media article

The policy guideline updates pertaining to the O1 visa, announced in January 2022, introduced several helpful language that potentially expands the availability of O1A visas for individuals in entrepreneurship or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

One example of this is the expansive way officers are encouraged to interpret the O1A evidentiary criteria, “published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the beneficiary, relating to the beneficiary’s work in the field.”

Traditionally, applicants have interpreted this requirement to refer to media articles that mention the beneficiary by name and discuss the beneficiary’s work in the field. Interestingly, the USCIS policy manual now allows the possibility that in some cases, applicants may submit media articles relevant to their work they performed as part of a team even if their name is not explicitly mentioned:

“officers may consider material that focuses solely or primarily on work or research being undertaken by a team of which the beneficiary is a member, provided that the material mentions the beneficiary in connection with the work, or other evidence in the record documents the beneficiary’s significant role in the work or research.”

Reading the plain language of this paragraph, it appears that USCIS recognizes the possibility that an article primarily discussing the work or research done by a team in which the beneficiary is a member could qualify to meet this criterion provided the beneficiary submits other evidence in the record documenting the beneficiary’s significant role in that work or research project, even if the article doesn’t mention the beneficiary.

Notably, the guidance for interpreting the EB1A evidentiary criteria does not contain this provision. In the EB1A context, then, it is likely that USCIS will still expect applicants to submit media articles that focus on the applicant’s work and explicitly mentions the name of the applicant.

The O1A could be an attractive solution for individuals who are performing at the cutting edge of science, technology, business, or industry, and working at high-growth startups and could be a viable alternative for the H1B visa, being not subject to an annual cap and renewable indefinitely. The O1A could also be an advantageous way for potential EB2 NIW beneficiaries to more quickly obtain status in the US to start working on their projects, especially given the recent retrogression in EB2 priority dates and lengthier processing times compared to a nonimmigrant visa.

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