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Proving International Recognition and Exceptions

“Internationally recognized” means:

having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered, to the extent that such achievement is renowned, leading, or well known in more than one country.

The definition is similar to that of O-1B extraordinary ability, but a bit more stringent. What is important is the reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members, nor the acclaim of a particular production.

To establish international recognition, a petitioner may rely either on documentation of a major, one-time achievement by the group, such as the nomination for or receipt of a significant international award or prize, or on at least three of the following:

  • Has and will perform as leading/starring group in productions/events with distinguished reputations;
  • International recognition/acclaim for outstanding achievements;
  • Has and will perform as leading/starring group for organizations with distinguished reputations;
  • Record of major commercial/critically acclaimed success;
  • Significant recognition from organizations, critics, governments, other recognized experts;
  • Commanded/will command high salary/other substantial remuneration relative to others similarly situated.

There is no "comparable evidence" provision as in the O-1B category, but letters from experts meet at least one of the criteria and can be used to buttress efforts to document other criteria.

International recognition means recognition in more than one country. Thus, recognition in the group's home country coupled with recognition in the U.S. will suffice. Moreover, USCIS may waive the requirement of international recognition in favor of national recognition in special circumstances, such as a showing that the group could not attain recognition in more than one country for want of access to the news media or geographic isolation.