Truth: An award is not the only requirement.
Although winning an award is part of the evidentiary criteria, it is not all of the evidentiary criteria. One can qualify for the O-1 without having an award due to the additional evidentiary criteria. Does having the award make the petition stronger? Absolutely, but it is by no means the only way to satisfy the criteria.
Quantity vs. Quality of Portfolio
Truth: Select quality achievements to strengthen the portfolio.
Although having multiple achievements is excellent, USCIS officers can sometimes feel overwhelmed analyzing such an extensive portfolio. The officer, who is not an expert of the arts, will get lost with all the facts. It is important to select the strongest achievements that positively impact the petition. It’s important to fully curate the portfolio so that (generally) the top five achievements are discussed.
Profile of the Signers
Truth: Signers only need to be experts in their field.
The requirement for the signers for the testimonial letters is that they must be experts in their field. Therefore, signers can be former employers, future employers, non-US based experts, and more.
In fact, it’s important to have a healthy mix of US experts and international experts. The international experts can confirm the international achievements.
Many of the myths surrounding O-1s are due to USCIS misapplying the legal standard or confusing the legal standard with other visa types. It’s important to have a full understanding of the law to successfully refute the O-1 Misconceptions.