To obtain an O-1 visa, you must meet at least three out of the eight "extraordinary ability" criteria.
The O-1 Visa Overview
The O-1 visa is a work visa that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States temporarily.
To qualify for an O-1 visa, you must:
- Have received a major internationally recognized award such as a Nobel Prize or Olympic Medal.
- Meet three out of eight criteria Extraordinary Ability criteria.
One of those eight criteria is the "Published Materials" criterion.
What are "Published Materials"?
Let's start with the official wording in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy manual describing the Published Materials criterion:
"Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the beneficiary, relating to the beneficiary's work in the field for which classification is sought, which must include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation.
In other words, you can meet this criterion by showing that there are articles about your work published in reputable outlets. The articles should include a title and author. Finally, you will need certified translations if the articles are not in English.
I'm an entrepreneur. Do O-1 press articles need to be about me, or can they be about my startup?
As an entrepreneur, it is easy to see that your company's accomplishments are your accomplishments.
You can use articles about your company for the Published Materials criterion, but they should mention you by name.
Overall, the best articles will be directly about you and describe your work in detail.
There are published articles about me, but they don't relate to my current field. Can these still be used for my O-1?
According to USCIS's policy manual (referenced above), articles must relate to your "work in the field."
Suppose you apply for an O-1 visa to work as Chief Revenue Officer at a fintech startup. In that case, your immigration attorney might advise against including articles about your previous accomplishments as an Astronomer. However, if there are articles about your previous role as Head of Sales at an astronomy startup, they could fit in your O-1 petition. Regardless of your field, finding some way to link your old articles to your current work is key.
The best articles for this criterion will always be articles that clearly and directly relate to your current field.
Is one article enough for the O-1 Published Materials criterion?
Considering the rest of your qualifications, your immigration attorney will help you determine whether it's worth including only one article. For example, a feature in The New York Times might be beneficial to include on its own.
However, your attorney may consider a single article in a local newspaper too weak to include on its own.
Articles published about your work can open up an entirely new O-1 visa criterion. However, if there are no published articles about you, there are still seven more O-1 criteria for which you could qualify! Follow this series as we share about each O-1 criterion, or reach out to discuss your case one-on-one.