O-1 Visa for Tattoo Artists

by | Jun 26, 2022 | Immigration

What is the O-1 Visa?

O-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for the United States reserved to individuals of extraordinary ability and talent in their field or profession. There are two types of O-1 Visa:

  • O-1A visa, for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics;
  • O-1B visa, for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.

What are the requirements to show extraordinary abilities or achievements in your field or profession?

Extraordinary ability means a level of expertise indicating that you are considered a top talent in your industry. In order to show extraordinary abilities that make you eligible for O-1 visa, you have to fit in at least 3 of the following criteria:


  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field;
  • Membership in associations in the field, which require outstanding achievements of their members
  • Media coverage regarding the beneficiary and his achievements
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or similar field
  • Evidence of the beneficiary’s major contributions in the field;
  • Authorship of articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
  • Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation; or
  • High salary or other remuneration for services rendered in the filed or profession


  • Lead or critical role in productions or events that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts, or endorsements;
  • National or international recognition for achievements through critical reviews and other published material;
  • Lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation, as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
  • Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion pictures or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers, or other publications;
  • Recommendation letters from other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged;
  • High or above average salary or or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field.

What if the criteria do not apply to my field?

If one or more criteria are not readily applicable to your field of endeavor, you may submit comparable evidence, which means evidence outside the criteria but still capable of showing the extraordinary talent of the applicant.

What is the duration of the O-1 Visa?

The O-1 Visa can be obtained initially for 3 years, then renewed in increments up to one year each, unlimited times as long as you can show that you need more time to accomplish your initial event or activity.

Do I need a job offer to apply for O-1 Visa?

Yes, you need a job offer from a U.S. Employer or a contract with an agent that may represent multiple U.S. employers (in this case you need to enclose an itinerary showing the locations and dates of your employment) or a foreign (non – U.S.) employer. You cannot self-petition for O-1 Visa, as opposed to EB1A, a green card for individuals with extraordinary activities in their field, which does not require a job offer.

May I travel with my family members? What can they do?

Family of O-1 Visa holder may travel with him on O-3 Visa. Eligible family members are the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Family members of O-1 Visa are not eligible to work in the United States but they can full or part time study.

Is Tattooing among the arts that may be eligible for O-1B Visa?

Tattooing is one the most ancient and noble arts in the world, and for this reason Tattoo artists who have obtained extraordinary achievements in the tattoo industry are considered eligible for O-1B Visa.

What requirements must a Tattoo Artist possess to qualify for O-1 Visa?

Some of the criteria described above may be readily applicable to the art of tattooing, but many others are not. In any such case, evidence not readily applicable to the general criteria should be introduced as comparable evidence. In general, to qualify for O-1 Visa for extraordinary abilities as a tattoo artist, you have to show the following:

  • Receipt of prestigious awards and prizes in the field of tattooing
  • Press material about you and your art works (magazine or online articles, interviews etc)
  • Attendance as an invited guest to national or international tattoo conventions or tattoo exhibits (comparable evidence)
  • Guest artist spots at prestigious tattoo studios (comparable evidence)
  • Sponsorships or pro teams for recognized tattoo industry brands (comparable evidence)
  • Large social media following (comparable evidence)
  • Owning and managing a successful tattoo studio (comparable evidence)
  • Commanding high or above average salary for your services as a tattoo artist
  • Recommendation letters from fellow internationally acclaimed tattoo artists

Is it necessary for a tattoo artist to show all of the above requirements?

Typically, at least three of the above requirements should be met and proved, however the more the better.

What should be the content of the recommendation letters from other tattoo artists?

A recommendation letter should attest that you have achieved significant recognition in the tattoo industry and should be written by a fellow tattoo artist who is a celebrity in this field.

The expert who signs the letter should be someone who can be readily found through online research and who ideally meets the same, or most of the criteria to be eligible for the O-1 visa.

The content of the letter should consist of:

  • An introduction of the fellow tattoo artist who’s signing the letter, pointing out his achievements and qualifications.
  • Description of how and why the expert knows you;
  • A praise of your talent and achievements;
  • Final recommendation and concise reasons why your O-1 visa should be approved.

Contact us

We specialize in O-1B Visa for tattoo artists. Contact Bardazzi Law to schedule a free consultation. We will discuss your case and work together to determine whether or not you qualify for O-1B Visa as a tattoo artist. Fill out our contact form, we will call you back immediately to schedule a free consult.

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