O-1B Petitions: Individual Artists of Extraordinary Ability

An O-1B petition can include only one alien of extraordinary ability in the arts entering the U.S. to work in his/her area of expertise. "Extraordinary ability" for purposes of the arts means a high level of achievement in the field, substantially above that ordinarily encountered. With a well-crafted petition, seasoned or accomplished artists, those who have achieved sudden success, and even students and child prodigies who function at a level appropriate to O-1B status should qualify. Although USCIS service centers vary in their interpretation of the extraordinary ability standard as applied to performing artists, nonetheless, if a USCIS service center questions whether the alien meets the standard of distinction, the petitioner first should look closely at how much effort went into the petition in the first place.

A U.S.-based entertainment group that engages a foreign individual to perform as a member can also opt to file for a P-1B, based on the reputation of the U.S.-based group with which the artist will perform.