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What is a high salary for the purposes of O-1B visa? How can I meet this requirement?

By June 25, 2020May 20th, 2021Extraordinary Ability, Immigration
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The O-1B visa is for foreign nationals (aliens) who have demonstrated extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.

To qualify for an O-1B visa, you will have to submit evidence showing:

  • You are a recipient of significant national or international awards or prizes in your particular field (e.g. an Emmy, a Grammy);
  • Evidence that you meet at least 3 of these 6 criteria. One of the 10 criteria is evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.”

What evidence should I submit to prove this criterion?

First, you will have to submit evidence showing that you either already commanded or that you will command a high salary. If you already commanded a high salary, then you should submit your W-2s (or if you worked abroad equivalent to W-2s) and/or paystubs. If you will command a high salary in the U.S., then you should submit the Employment Offer letter/Contract(s) to prove this criterion.

Secondly, you should submit evidence showing that your salary is high in relation to others in the field. You should submit a statistical comparison of the salaries in your field of expertise. You could submit for example:

  • The statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics;
  • The Department of Labor’s Career One Stop website;
  • Statistics from the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center Online Wage Library;
  • Testimonies from industry experts;
  • Other evidence showing that your salary is high in relation to others. This could include evidence such as the statistics from Linkedin, Glassdoor, or similar websites.

What is “other substantial remuneration”?

If you are working form multiple U.S. companies as a 1099 worker rather than a W-2 employee, then you could submit forms 1099 to demonstrate that you remuneration is high in relation to others. To learn more about W2 or 1099 for O-1 visas, please click here.

In addition, if a company offers you an equity instead of cash/salary that could also potentially meet this criterion.

Please click here if you want to read more about the high salary criterion.

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