There are several career moves that will give you a head start on qualifying for an O Visa and strengthening your application! Keep in mind that the O Visa: is for individuals exceptional in their career field, so it is imperative that you are able to prove that and truly do excel. By following these moves, it will help build up the evidence you have to support your case.
O1 Visa: Find Your Experts Who Will Write Letters of Support
A critical component of the O1 Visa application is the letters of support/recommendations/testimonials from industry experts. Therefore, it is imperative that you build a strong network of people who can potentially write you a letter of support. Do not be shy to put yourself out there and meet new people, no matter where you are starting in your career. You will need to meet many people before you start meeting the people who will be critical to your application! Remember, it is not the number of connections you have but who are your connections. You will need known experts, people with high social media following or known nationally and/or internationally, with documented achievements that can be easily verified online or with high credentials and certifications. You likely will have colleagues, clients, employers, and mentors – each of them could turn into a potential letter of support writer. Work hard, cultivate these relationships, impress them with your work ethic and background, and make sure they like you or your work. People who like you or your work will write you stronger letters of support.
O1 Visa: Publicity! And Publications!
You must garner publicity for your work. Get published, have your name in the press, in writing in online or written publications. Have your face or your work in publications, and keep a record of everything. Share all your achievements on your social media networks, and publicize, publicize, publicize your work. The key is publicizing your WORK and getting recognition for your work. You want to get recognized as someone who is exceptional in their career field.
O1 Visa: Directly and Creatively Engage With Your Audience
Do features, interviews, volunteer to judge competitions, give workshops, and find other creative ways for people to learn about you. Do not be afraid to actually reach out to local news or magazines for this.
O1 Visa: Enter a Competition
You may also consider if there are any competitions or awards within your field that you can pitch yourself for. Even if you do not win a competition, if it is highly selective to become a participant or you are in the company of very talented people who are also competing, that can also be helpful for your application. If you win an award, that is even better and automatically enhances your future O Visa application.
O1 Visa: Building Your Portfolio, Skills, and Business
Building up your portfolio and continuing to work on your craft or area of expertise is crucial. Always work hard and actively engage in your field. Seek opportunities to showcase your work or talent but remember, some opportunities are better than others. If an opportunity does not enhance your reputation in the industry for your work, allow you to develop a skill, garner publicity, lead to a networking opportunity, or help you in some way critical to building your career, you may not want to pursue that option.
You can also consider ways that you may expand your work – could your work turn into lectures or presentations that you could give? Is there room for promotion or starting your own business?
Start thinking about transitioning your career in the United States. Have an idea of where you would want to be pursuing your career and if there are any potential employers that could start connecting with.