Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram


O-1B Leading or Starring Role

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O-1B Visa Lead or Starring Role Editorial:
In this presentation, we’re going to focus in on the O-1B visa category – ‘Leading or Starring Role in a Production or Event’.

It’s important to first consider the exact wording of this category, and from there we can take each point in turn.

The actual official wording of this category is: – [101(a)(15)(o) and 8 CFR § Sec. 214(o)]

Services, performed and to be performed, as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;

In this category there are three main elements: –

(1)   Have you performed or have you been booked to perform in a leading or starring role in a production or event?

(2)   How prestigious was the venue?

(3)   Can you prove the significance of your role and significance of the production or event by way of the press coverage it received?

As you can see from the above breakdown, this category is designed for those individuals who are actually performing, rather than working behind the scenes. There is a category for critical role behind the scenes, which we will discuss in a later video.

All of the above points are equally important to showing US immigration that you have played in a lead or starring role. Your role as well as the venue and the coverage of the event must all be considered. For example, if you played a leading role in a play that was in an unknown venue with little press coverage, it will be more difficult to show US immigration your level of achievement. Certainly begin to consider what productions you have been and the level of press coverage you or the production may have received.

O-1B Visa Lead or Starring Role Commentary:

Let’s Talk About Playing a Leading or Starring Role – Ok, if we take each of these elements in turn and discuss them, then hopefully you will be able to make an assessment to see how close you may be to satisfying this category.  There are many roles one can play in a production or an event. A production could be any artistic performance; it could be your performance in a film, stage play, concert or a show.  The event could be a single event such as one night at the Royal Albert Hall, for example, or it could be a series of performances like a run on Broadway or even a national or international tour.

When examining leading or starring roles for O-1B visa purposes, the US Immigration adjudicator is looking to see how you are billed. The production’s credits will list the stars in order of importance in any published material about the show. So it’s important that we’re able to show from the published material alone, that you are billed highly in the production.

Let’s Talk About Whether the Leading or Starring Role Was Performed at a Prestigious Venue – There are thousands of productions and events that are highly prestigious, but would be completely unknown to an Immigration officer reviewing your case. Because you work in your field you would be extremely familiar with the top events where people flock to each year, or pay close attention to from around the world.

Let’s Talk About Possible Press Coverage on Your Particular Performance

In order to impress an Immigration officer, we have to literally bring that event and it’s significance to life and in such a way that would corroborate our claims on your behalf. Each country has it’s own top prestigious venues. The more prestigious the venue/event, the more likely the press would have reported on it, even if it’s only the trade press.

The more prestigious the production or event, and the closer you are to the center of the production, the more likely the press will specifically reference you by name and your contribution to the show. US Immigration will be looking for press coverage because they know the press is a friend to no one. The press is regarded as being brutally honest, and will not hesitate to slay a performance or rave about a performance. Truth is, many performers will get a mixture of both in their careers, but for Immigration purposes we obviously only want a sample of the best.

The Rising Star

The O-1B visa for Film and TV actors does recognize the ‘rising star’ concept as opposed to someone who has clearly risen to the very top of their profession. The precise wording of the category does include the words “Services, performed and to be performed…” However whilst this might enable us to satisfy this category, we will need to find two other categories from the list of seven and this can be more challenging for the rising star than for established actors. Nevertheless, we’re in the business of facing every challenge, so we definitely would be interested in discussing your case.


Without dealing thoroughly with each of the elements of this or any of your chosen categories, we cannot win your case. However, our expertise and years of experience enables us to work very closely with our clients, so we can show them exactly the steps they need to take to complete each category. In turn, this helps us to ultimately win the overwhelming majority of the cases we file.

So it doesn’t matter to us whether a client has it all together, simply by partnering with us we’ll be able to help them gather in all of the key elements to each category in order to win – this is what we’ve built our reputation on.

I hope you found this presentation not only informative but inspirational too. Our goal is to inspire our clients into action and continued success. Take some time to review our testimonials, we’re looking forward to adding many more, maybe yours will be featured there too one day, so you can be an inspiration to others. We’ll be waiting for your call. In the next presentation, we’re going to review the ‘National or International Recognition for Achievements’ category.

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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