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Caterina A. Ranieri, Anna Putintseva

The fifth criterion for O-1 classification is what we generally refer to in the industry as “expert letters”. Usually sponsors and beneficiaries ask us how many letters are required in order to meet this criterion. Our response is: it is not the quantity but the quality of expert letters that matters.

O-1 petitions do not generally require a minimum number of letters to satisfy the fifth criterion. The government clearly states as follows in the regulations:

Evidence that the alien has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged. Such testimonials must be in a form which clearly indicates the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien’s achievement. 8 CFR Section 214.2 (o)(3)(iv)(B)(5).

We suggest to our clients that instead of repeating the same information about a dancer’s results in each expert letter, each letter should serve its own distinct purpose, describing one or two important aspects of the dancer’s career that other experts have not addressed in their letters.

The second sentence of the regulations quoted above will be addressed in our next alert, namely, how to write expert letters that clearly communicate information about the dancer, and establish the author as an expert.

SPECIAL NOTE: We now offer a free 30-minute webinar on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 noon EST discussing visa options for dancers and other work industries. There will be an opportunity to ask us questions at the end of our presentation. Please register for our next webinar which is scheduled for January 2, 2019 at the following link: We look forward to hearing from you!