Note: We have not provided the real names of our clients or defining details about their companies in order to protect their confidentiality.
Lengthy Delays and Answering a Call for Action
Peter's case was an interesting one in that his petitioning company had already secured an approved O-1 visa petition for his employment as their Chief Technical Officer (CTO). This was done through a change of status request within the United States. With the approved change of status, Peter could remain in the U.S. for the entire duration of the visa petition validity and work for the petitioning company. However, due to Peter having to travel to his home country of Russia to check on their product's operations there, he had to apply for the O-1 visa at the U.S. consulate in Moscow in order to be admitted back to the U.S.
The case was put on administrative processing hold for background checks or for other unknown reasons. The company in the U.S. was struggling as it had lost its CTO, who was unable to return and continue his work. It took the U.S. consulate over six months and still there was no incoming news on the visa case processing. In response to multiple inquiries, the U.S. consulate responded only in boilerplate language stating that the case was under review and the beneficiary needed to be patient.
However, due to the lengthy delay and Peter's absence, the U.S. company was losing revenue and customers. It was only a startup, and as such it needed a capable executive to direct the product development and maintain its operational efficiency. After much consideration, Peter decided to travel to the U.S. on a temporary visa to vacation with his family, hoping that his case would be adjudicated by the time he was ready to return to Russia. Unfortunately, the case underwent no observable progress. It was still on administrative hold and it remained unclear as to how much more delay he and his company would have to endure before he was allowed to return to the U.S. for work.
Thus, the decision was made and the company petitioned for a change of status again from his B-2 to O-1 so that Peter could finally resume his role as its CTO in the U.S.
As with all O-1 petitions, we first had to prove that the petitioning company was qualified in sponsoring the foreign employee. Considering the fact that the company had already been approved for bringing Peter on as CTO before, this proved to be relatively simple.
For the most part, we just had to justify why Peter could not return home to await the completion of the administrative processing, and did so through ample explaining the urgent need for Peter's services in the U.S.
In addition, once again we had to establish that the beneficiary merited the O-1 visa as based on his qualifications. Peter's petitioning company specialized in the production of technologically advanced graphics cards that he himself had personally developed. When connected to certain computers, these cards boosted the machine's graphics many times over, something incredibly beneficial for the U.S. computer graphic, film-making and gaming industries.
In the petition letter, we described how it was imperative that Peter's presence be allowed to ensure the proper completion and handling of the orders of the company's products, orders which were valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Otherwise, we explained, the company would certainly suffer a catastrophic loss of clients.
In his role as CTO, Peter was responsible for leading the technological processes of the U.S. office and the development of new products, as well as creating and overseeing a team of engineers. Without him, the company was unable to operate in any sufficient form.
In establishing that Peter meet O-1 criteria, we needed to demonstrate that Peter had earned national or international acclaim through at least three of the following:
- The individual has received nationally or internationally recognized awards or prizes in his or her field.
- Membership in associations requiring exceptional achievements as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields.
- The applicant's endeavors have been described in professional trade publications or by major media organizations.
- The individual has participated as a judge of others's work in the an identical or similar field.
- The individual has penned articles that have been published in professional trade publications.
- Original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of outstanding significance in the applicant's field.
- Performance in leading or critical roles for organizations of distinguished repute.
- High salary for services performed.
- Any other evidence to demonstrate the extraordinary nature of the applicant and his or her eligibility.
By working closely with Peter and familiarizing ourselves with his career, we ensured that the petition would present a comprehensive and persuasive argument as to why his change of status to O-1A should be allowed so that he could resume his work as CTO at the petitioning company.
We were able to decisively cover one facet of the USCIS criteria by describing the attention Peter's work had received by major media organizations. Peter's company's products had been covered by mass media in multiple countries, as well as on online media and websites, many examples of which were enclosed within the petition.
Also, by focusing on the waves Peter's graphic card and computer products had made across multiple industries, we were able to highlight the massive contributions he had made to his field through his company's lucrative success and the caliber of the companies and organizations interested in his innovations. By giving an exhaustively detailed account of his successes and the impacts they had made in the technology industry, we left no stone unturned in eliminating any doubt that Peter's work was anything less than revolutionary.
Letters of recommendation submitted by industry experts who knew Peter through his work in the field further highlighted the importance of his contributions to hardware engineering in the field of computer graphics, film making and gaming. In Peter's case, he had an incredible selection of recommending sources, including academics, television magnates, graphic designers, engineers, businessmen, investors and producers in the media industry.
This was further cemented by our emphasis that, without Peter, nothing that the company had succeeded in doing would have been possible. This is incredibly important to emphasize in any O-1 petition, as USCIS demands that the beneficiary's services must have been critical to the companies serviced. In Peter's case, without his design or input, the company simply wouldn't be where it is today. In addition, we also provided documentation of Peter's high compensation compared to others similarly situated in the field, hitting another USCIS criterion.
As a fortunate result of the petition's contents, USCIS approved the change of status and Peter was allowed to resume his role as the petitioning company's CTO without waiting for the decision on the visa processing.
No case is clear-cut, but by focusing on the strengths of each client's history and communicating closely with them, the best possible odds of success at the very least can always be ensured.