U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today published a new section in the USCIS Policy Manual relating to the O nonimmigrant classifications.
O-1 nonimmigrant status is available to aliens of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, business, education, and athletics, and aliens with a record of “extraordinary achievement” in the motion picture or television industry, who are coming to the United States temporarily to work in their area of ability or achievement. In addition, O-2 status is available for essential support personnel coming solely to assist an O-1 artist or athlete. An employer or agent must submit a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) on the beneficiary’s behalf.
This guidance, contained in Volume 2 of the Policy Manual, replaces guidance found in Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 33, as well as the AFM’s related appendices and any related policy memoranda. The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance on the topic.
The new section expands guidance on evaluating O-1 eligibility, including how officers determine if the petitioner has satisfied the evidentiary criteria and established that the beneficiary has extraordinary ability or extraordinary achievement, as applicable. It also clarifies when a petitioner may rely upon “comparable evidence” to meet the requirements for certain O-1 beneficiaries.
USCIS is also incorporating existing guidance relating to certain nonimmigrant athletes, coaches and entertainers (otherwise known as the P-1, P-2, and P-3 nonimmigrant classifications), and their essential support personnel into the Policy Manual.