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O-1A Visa Innovation or Invention

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O-1A Visa Innovation or Invention Editorial:

Often, our O-1A clients have secured job opportunities in the US based on their significant contributions to the industry, such as an invention or business innovation.

In this presentation, we’re going to focus on the O-1A visa category – ‘Contribution of Major Significance’. The actual official wording of this category is: –

Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly or business-related contribution of major significance in the field.

For O1-A visa purposes what US Immigration is talking about here is the alien’s ability to show that they have made a significant innovation, breakthrough or impact in their field of endeavor. How this plays out in practical terms will depend on the discipline under discussion.

For each industry, the innovation or significant contribution will be different. This could certainly mean patented technology that is currently in use or the latest hit mobile application. What US Immigration wants to see is that alien’s significant innovation is considered a breakthrough or game-changer in the field of endeavor. Not all innovations will be technology based, and how this plays out in practical terms will depend on the discipline under discussion.

In an effort to provide you with the most comprehensive information available, we will take each contribution – scientific, scholarly and business-related – and discuss them individually.

O-1A Visa Innovation or Invention Commentary:

Ok – let’s talk about Major Contribution in the Sciences: We work with a lot of academics / scientists who, in our opinion as non-scientists, are extraordinary individuals. The question is however, have they made an extraordinary contribution to their field of endeavor to satisfy this O-1A visa category? An easy question to consider is whether the alien has advanced, broken new ground, discovered, developed something new that has attracted scientific or academic press attention within the community or even beyond.  It’s not uncommon for scientific or academic studies to make the “news” for the general public.

Like many of us, Immigration officers are themselves lay-people, and they cannot read an alien’s published scientific journal with any pertinent comprehension or appreciation as to its real significance. Instead, Immigration officers look to see if there has been anything published about the alien’s work in a distinguished journal or other published material that explicitly states that the work done by the alien is a contribution of major significance in the field.

In fact, if the Immigration officer had a copy of any article that said words to that effect this would be great evidence in support of this O-1A visa category. No layperson, even an Immigration officer, would be qualified to argue to the contrary.  What is true is that we cannot make any claim on your behalf of having made a major contribution in the field, unless the claim can be backed up by some independent source. If there are no published third-party references, then we’ll explore other effective ways to submit substantive comparable evidence.

As an experienced O-1A visa law firm we have discovered a variety of ways to present our client’s major contributions to the field. There are also various precedent legal cases that will also ensure that any Immigration officer gives our well-documented evidence its proper consideration.

Ok – let’s talk about Major Contribution in Business: There are many discoveries in business, most of which do not hit the headlines of any published media simply because the discovery might be proprietary. If an individual or team discovers a new way to beat the competition, it’s hardly going to brag about it in the press. In other areas of business it is quite safe for an individual or team to be written about in the media. If you feel you have made any kind of impact within your business community and beyond, then let me help you and show you how we can present these achievements to a skeptical Immigration adjudicator.

Ok – let’s talk about Major Contribution in Sports: Tiger Woods has undoubtedly made a significant contribution in the world of golf, but how and why?  Is it because he’s won many titles and broken many records? Is it because of his color, his youth, the number of and dollar value of his endorsements?  Is it because of the number of column inches he commands in the press? The answer must be all of the above.

When looking at someone’s contribution to their sport we have to look at the degree of influence and standing they have within the sport. There is no simplistic approach to this and it’s basically a question of us spending the time to interview and discuss all that our client has done within their field or industry and see how they made their mark.

O1-A visa Immigration officers are looking for as much independent evidence as possible as to the alien’s contribution in their field of endeavor. It has to be major. What constitutes a major contribution is a highly subjective issue. We have to develop as much objective evidence as possible, which often times is not obvious at first. Deep down the alien knows whether they have done anything remarkable within their field, but more often than not, modesty holds them back. The key is to work with us so that we can explore this and the other categories with you and so that we can bring the best of you out to the fore in the most persuasive way.

In the next presentation, we’re going to review the ‘Published Material Scholarly Articles’ category. Once again, we’re so delighted that you found us and hope you enjoy our O-1A visa presentation series. When you’re ready, please email or call us for a free consultation and we can discuss your case and get the ball rolling.


Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 442 244 4350

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