2023년 12월 6일
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Securing an O-1 Visa Advisory Opinion Without Peer Group

Learn strategies for obtaining an O-1 Visa Advisory Opinion without a peer group or labor organization, ensuring a successful application process.

Securing an O-1 Visa Advisory Opinion Without Peer Group

The path to securing an O-1 visa involves navigating through various requirements, and one of the most critical components of the application is the advisory opinion.

An advisory opinion—sometimes referred to as a consultation letter or peer review letter—is traditionally a letter from a designated U.S. peer group or labor organization in the applicant's field of expertise, written in support of the O-1 application.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of advisory opinions, consultation letters, and peer letters for O-1 visas, providing in-depth insights to assist applicants in successfully meeting this requirement and what to do when there is no peer group or labor organization in your field.

The Importance of Advisory Opinions in the O Visa Process

The O-1A visa, renowned for its flexibility, is granted to individuals demonstrating "extraordinary ability" in their field. While the criteria for O-1A are versatile, one unifying requirement for all applicants is the advisory opinion. This advisory opinion, often called a consultation or peer letter, is crucial in affirming the exceptional nature of the applicant's abilities and qualifications.

The inclusion of advisory opinions, also known as consultation letters, is a mandatory step in the O-1 visa petition process. These opinions are obtained from relevant labor organizations, primarily unions, overseeing professions in the United States.

The purpose of these advisory opinions is to leverage the expertise of professionals within the applicant's field. When the O-1 petition involves individuals with extraordinary achievements in motion pictures or television, both a labor union and a management organization with expertise in the beneficiary's area must contribute to the consultation. These opinions serve as valuable insights for the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in evaluating the extraordinary talent or essentiality of the beneficiary.

Understanding Advisory Opinions, Consultation Letters, and Peer Letters

An advisory opinion is traditionally a document from a designated U.S. peer group or labor organization, expressing support for the O-1 application. However, for applicants in fields without a relevant peer group or labor organization, obtaining an advisory opinion becomes a nuanced process.

For those in business-related fields where peer groups might be less established, the option exists to submit an advisory opinion signed by someone recognized as an expert in the applicant's field. This letter should explicitly state the absence of an applicable peer group or labor organization. For additional insight and information on advisory opinion letters and designated peer or labor groups, you can refer to the official USCIS Advisory Opinion Address Index.

Who Can Sign Your Advisory Opinion Letter?

USCIS does not provide specific regulations defining who signatory can be so careful consideration is necessary when selecting someone to sign the advisory opinion. The ideal signatory should:
  • Be familiar with your work and willing to support your application.
  • Work in your field or a closely allied one.
  • Demonstrate expertise in your shared field.
  • Have a U.S.-based background, with more extended U.S. work experience being preferable.
  • Lack an interest in your company or affiliation with the sponsoring entity.

Components of the Advisory Letter

Advisory opinion letters should include several key components to strengthen the O-1 visa application:
  • A concise biography of the signatory demonstrating their expertise.
  • A statement affirming the applicant's extraordinary abilities or supporting the O-1 application.
  • A comprehensive summary of the O-1 applicant's achievements.
  • Descriptions aligning with specific O-1 criteria, if applicable.

Navigating the Absence of a Union in Your Field

In cases where no union or labor organization covers the applicant's field, an alternative approach involves submitting a "peer letter." This letter is written by a U.S.-based individual or company with expertise in the beneficiary's field. The peer letter attests to the absence of a union or labor organization for the position and vouches for the beneficiary's skills and qualifications.

For instance, if the applicant specializes in a unique field such as an influencer, which lacks a labor union at the moment, the O-1 petition should incorporate a peer letter from a credible source within the influencer community. An appropriate peer could provide a valuable letter, confirming the absence of a union for influencers in the U.S. and highlighting the beneficiary's talents.

Overcoming Challenges to Finding Peers

For applicants outside the U.S. with limited contacts, the search for suitable signatories might be challenging. Consider reaching out to past co-workers, classmates, alumni, or individuals from shared professional experiences. Even if relationships are not close, individuals may be willing to support the application through an advisory opinion.

Additionally, if applicants can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group or labor organization does not exist, the decision by USCIS will be based on the remaining materials provided in support of the O application.

In certain cases, a consultation may be waived for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the arts if the petition, within two years, is for similar services as a previous consultation. "Similar services" typically implies working with the same employer on the same or similar projects. To seek a waiver, petitioners must submit a request along with a copy of the previous consultation with the petition.

While these criteria for signatories are not strict requirements, consulting with your SuperVisas case manager is crucial for optimal signatory selection. Their experience and insights can guide you in making informed decisions that align with the unique requirements of your O-1 visa application.

Conclusion

Navigating the advisory opinion requirement can be intricate, but with proper guidance, it becomes a pivotal step in the O-1 visa journey. For further insights into the O-1 visa process and a seamless application experience, reach out to our professionals to schedule a consultation.

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Robert Wees
U.S. Immigration CounselRobert Wees
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