\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 33 Performing Artists, Entertainers, Athletes and Others of Extraordinary Ability (O & P Classifications). \ 33.9 Technical Issues.
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has interpreted the term "distinction" as it relates to O-1
artists and entertainers
to be identical to the prior H-1B standard for prominent aliens. However, the standards for O-1 aliens in the fields of
business, education, athletics and the sciences
are extremely high and should be reserved only for those aliens who have reached the very top of their occupation or profession. The O-1 classification here is substantially higher than the former H-1 “prominent” standard which required merely an undergraduate degree in a related field. Adjudicators should not "water down" the classification by approving O-1 petitions for “prominent” aliens in these other fields. The vast majority of the aliens seeking O-1 classification will be eligible for H-1B classifica
tion as most of the occupations will probably be specialty occupations.
Extraordinary achievement in respect to motion picture and television productions means a high level of accomplishment which is shown by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered--to the extent that the alien is recognized as outstanding, leading, or well-known in the field.
In support of all O-1 petitions, the petitioner must establish that the alien has been recognized as having a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement (i. e., has been nominated for or been the recipient of significant national or international awards or prizes) and that the position is in the field in which the alien possesses such extraordinary achievement. Awards such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy or a Director's Guild Award would certainly qualify the alien; however, even if he/she has
not received such an award there may be sufficient other evidence submitted to establish that he or she has attained a high level of accomplishment in the television or motion picture industry. The regulations do not limit these individuals to the small percentage who have risen to the top of their field.
Coaches and Trainers
A coach or trainer of a United States sports team comprised totally of U. S. citizens or athletes is not eligible for P-1 status since the coach is not performing and he or she is not supporting a P-1 athlete. If he or she has a high level of renown, a coach or trainer might be eligible for O-1; however, those standards are extremely high and most coaches would not qualify as O-1s. Depending on the coach's qualifications, he or she might be eligible for H-1B status while others might qualify for H-2-B if th
ere is a temporary need for the coach's services.
Professional vs. Amateur Entertainers
With regards to entertainers, the O-1 and P-1 classifications relate only to professionals, not amateurs. However, unpaid entertainers may be eligible under certain circumstances for B-1 nonimmigrant classification (see
IFM Chapter 15.4(b)(1)(B)