O-1B CASE STUDY - RUBY SUMEGI - MODEL
Preparing a Successful O-1B Petition for a Child Model
CLIENT: Ruby Sumegi
Late one evening we received a call from a very pleasant and slightly anxious woman named Melanie. Her daughter, Ruby, had been a high-profile child model in Australia and now wanted to establish a career here in the United States. Ruby had already received interest from several distinguished U.S. fashion brands but she did not have the visa required to model for them.
CHALLENGE 1. Arguing that Ruby achieved "sustained acclaim" despite her young age
A requirement of the O-1 visa is demonstrating that the applicant has "sustained national or international acclaim" in the field of extraordinary ability. At the time of filing, Ruby was only 12 years old and had far less years than her older counterparts in the modeling industry. In dealing with this challenge we decided to emphasize letters of support from recognized figures in the modeling world. These letters from major brands, agents, photographers, stylists and a supermodel, were instrumental in proving that Ruby's achievements in Australia were not only extraordinary but consistent and sustained.
CHALLENGE 2. Dealing with Employers & Securing Contracts for Future Work
The O-1 visa requires that the applicant has "performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation". To satisfy this requirement we gathered several letters and contracts from Ruby's previous employers in Australia. For her future U.S. employers we faced a unique challenge - many employers were unclear about work authorization for a minor. To address these concerns we spoke at length with Ruby's mother, Melanie, about the rights and obligations associated with the O-1 visa. Melanie was then able to present accurate information to each employer and address their concerns.
On October 17th we received the wonderful news that Ruby's O-1B visa was approved for a period of three years. She is now hard at work modeling for several major U.S. brands.
Now here's Melanie, in her own words: