Success Story: How to Successfully Overcome an O-1 RFE


Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! In this blog post, we celebrate a client’s recent success story and share with you how our office was able to successfully obtain an O-1A visa approval for a jiu jitsu athlete of extraordinary ability.

First, let’s go over the O-1A visa process for individuals of extraordinary ability.

The O-1A is a perfect fit for those who can demonstrate a sustained level of national or international acclaim, as well as recognition for achievements received in their field of expertise. An O-1A applicant must demonstrate that he or she is one of a small percentage of individuals who has risen to the very top of his or her field, and that he or she will work in an area of extraordinary ability.

It is important to note that an O-1A applicant may not self-petition for their visa. A valid employer-employee relationship must exist, and the employer must petition for the applicant’s visa by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. Alternatively, a U.S. agent may file as a petitioner for an O-1 beneficiary if they are the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer or beneficiary, or authorized by the employer to act in place of the employer as its agent.

In general, three of eight criteria must be satisfied to successfully obtain an O-1A visa.

These criteria are as follows:

(1) Documentation of the alien’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;

(2) Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;

(3) Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;

(4) Evidence of the alien’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;

(5) Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;

(6) Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;

(7) Evidence that the alien has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;

(8) Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.

Our Client’s Situation

Our client “David” came to us after receiving a Request for Evidence questioning the nature of the competitions he would participate in as a champion jiu jitsu fighter in the United States.

David was fortunate enough to have secured employment with one of the leading Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts training facilities in the United States and was offered the opportunity to compete with the championship team at various prestigious tournaments and competitions throughout the United States.

After filing his O-1A visa extension, USCIS requested additional information regarding these events and competitions for the three-year period in which David would be in O-1A visa status in the United States.

To overcome the request for evidence, our attorneys prepared a detailed brief highlighting the level of prestige and distinction of each national and international jiu-jitsu competition the applicant would engage in in the United States. Our office also made sure to account for activities David would engage in during the entire three-year period. For instance, we explained that in between scheduled tournaments and competitions, our client would be training at a world class gym operated by the petitioner and be compensated by the petitioner for his training and preparation for each event. This was necessary to account for the activities David would participate in during the entire three-year period he would remain in O-1A status in the United States.

Additionally, our office prepared a detailed itinerary which included complete information about each competition and event our client would be participating in during his time in the United States. This itinerary included detailed information about each championship organization, the event date, name of each event and location, event details, and compensation for each event or competition where applicable. Printouts were also included of each championship event or competition from the official website for the event or competition, along with advertisements and other reputable information evidencing the legitimacy of each event.

Our office also carefully researched each championship event and made clear that each event or competition was a leading event in the sport.

Finally, to further elaborate on the nature of David’s events or competitions, David obtained a letter from the Director of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation which officially represented his sport at an international level. This letter further explained that the organization was responsible for managing the most prestigious and high-quality tournaments in the sport including the World Championship, and other events that David would be partaking in the United States. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation further provided an official championship event calendar highlighting the name of each event, dates, and the location of championships held in the United States.

To further overcome the request for evidence, our office included evidence that David had been maintaining his O-1A visa status with copies of his pay stubs.


All in all we are happy to report that our response to David’s Request for Evidence was successful. David’s O-1A visa status was approved without further delay even in the midst of a pandemic.

We recognize that these are truly challenging times in the world of immigration and would like our readers to know that they are not alone. From our staff members to our attorneys, we are with you every step of the way on your immigration journey.

Questions? For a comprehensive consultation to discuss solutions to your immigration issues, you may contact us at 619-819-9204 or toll free at 866-488-1554. We would be happy to help you.

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