1. WEAK FUTURE ENGAGEMENTS
A common reason for a case to receive an RFE is because of a weak contract. A future engagement is memorialized in a document that is sometimes called a contract, a letter of intent, a job offer letter, a letter of employment, an intent to hire, or a summary of the terms of agreement.
A weak contract is a contract that is:
- missing certain mandatory clauses
- too generic and lacks specificity
An example of a mandatory clause is the agent clause if you are filing with an agent-petitioner or compensation for your services. For example, a vague contract is a contract that lacks information about the project, the employer, or clients that the beneficiary will be working on behalf of, and just overall, not really giving a strong description of the services to be performed.
The risk of having a weak contract is:
- that it will not fulfill the criteria
- that it does not allow the officer to understand what the field of endeavor is, who the beneficiary is, what the profession is, etc.
2. WEAK ITINERARIES
The second reason why cases receive an RFE is because of a weak itinerary. The itinerary is the beneficiary’s agenda or program for the validity period for the O-1 visa. It is imperative that the itinerary does not have any gaps and that the beneficiary is consistently working in their field of endeavor throughout the O-1 validity period. Consistent gaps in the itinerary will lead the officer to believe that the beneficiary does not have don’t have enough work to sustain their itinerary.
A gap can be considered two to three weeks of no work. A solution to bridging gaps in the itinerary is to supplement US based work with international work.
3. WEAK PORTFOLIOS
A third common reason why cases receive an RFE is because of a weak portfolio. A portfolio is an ensemble of curated documents which proves the beneficiary’s achievements in the field.
There are two types of weak portfolios:
- a week portfolio due to content
- a weak portfolio due to the organization of the portfolio.
A poorly organized portfolio is a portfolio which does not allow the officer to easily evaluate the portfolio. A poorly organized portfolio includes information which is haphazardly put together without a theme or direction. It lacks perhaps a table of contents, blank pages separating each achievement, or even exhibit tabs. In short, it makes the job of an immigration officer difficult and distracts them from truly evaluating the achievements of the beneficiary.
A portfolio that has poor content is a portfolio which is not properly curated by the attorney. Curated means organized with purpose and thought. The portfolio should specifically tell the story of the beneficiary’s achievements and should include diverse documentation such as but not limited to paystubs, contracts, emails, eventbrite events, marketing emails, behind the scenes pictures, thank you notes, calendars, programs, and more. A properly curated portfolio allows a person, such as an immigration officer, who is not in the field of the beneficiary to successfully confirm that the beneficiary possesses an extraordinary ability in their field.
4. WEAK ONLINE PRESENCE
A fourth reason why a case can receive an RFE is because of a weak online presence for the future employer, the experts who sign the testimonials, or the past work. If one or more of these elements has a potentially weak online presence, then possibly an immigration officer might determine that since the future employer or the future project don’t have a strong online presence, then maybe the beneficiary is not actually extraordinary.
Therefore, to submit a strong case, it is imperative that the future employer, the experts who sign the testimonials, or the past work have some sort of online presence because if they don’t, it will potentially be used against the beneficiary.
5. WEAK EXPERTS
The fifth reason why O-1 cases can receive an RFE is because of weak experts for the testimonial letters. It is very important that the expert possess a strong professional profile and that such profile is supported by a strong online presence. An expert is a professional that has an excellent track record of success that is usually supported by an online presence, such as a LinkedIn profile or a company bio. If the expert doesn’t have that, then it becomes difficult to corroborate or prove the expertise of the expert signing the testimonial letter.
These are five reasons why an O-1 case can receive an RFE. The above elements can be strengthened by truly understanding the intricacies of the field of endeavor of the beneficiary, the industry standards of the field of endeavor of the beneficiary, and the details of the beneficiary’s career.