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I want to apply for an O-1 visa. What is National or International Recognition for Achievement? What is a Record of Major Commercial or Critically Acclaimed Success?

By May 1, 2020May 20th, 2021Extraordinary Ability, Immigration
Courtesy of Jon S on Flickr, labeled for reuse.

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. For more information about the O-1 visa, please click here.

Two of the O-1B visa criteria relate to “national or international recognition for achievements…” and “a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes…”. While these two criteria may sound similar, there are a few clear differences between them. In order to discuss the differences, it is important to go through the wording of these two criteria in full:

  • You achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • You have a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications

The first criteria related to “national or international recognition” essentially calls for press materials about you in major media or other forms of online or print publications. Also, any publications that were authored by you can be used to meet this criterion. If you have won an award and the award was announced in a publication (online or print), evidence for such an award qualifies under this criteria as well. For information on what types of awards can be included in an O-1 visa petition, please click here.

The key difference in this first O-1 criterion is that your name must have been mentioned within the publication. This is contrasted to the second criterion discussed more below, where your name does not have to be specifically mentioned. If you won an award, then more often than not, your name would have been mentioned as the recipient of the award and evidence pertaining to such awards can be included. Such awards submitted under this criteria should be “national or international” in scope.

However, if you were simply nominated for an award, or the award was not of “national or international” scope, then the evidence, such as press articles that published news about the nomination or award, can be submitted under the criterion related to “record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes…”. Under this criterion, the evidence does not have to mention your name specifically and you can still use this evidence as long as it discusses the production that you were involved in. If you work in the television or film industry, then it is clear from the wording of the criterion itself what kinds of evidence you can submit (“box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings”). If you work in the field of arts, press articles, critical reviews and interviews that do not mention your name but discuss a production in which you played a lead role in (similar to the evidence that was submitted to established the “distinguished reputation” for the lead role criteria) can be submitted under this criteria. For certain fields that involve social media metrics, social media follower numbers on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook can count as valid evidence under this criteria.

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