Can A Social Media Influencer Apply For a U.S. Visa?

Yes, a Social Media Influencer can, in fact, apply for a U.S. visa! U.S. immigration policies are continually evolving with the ever-expanding job titles of the 21st century.  Before more recent years there was no category for social media influencer, let alone a need to create a class within immigration law to give bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers visas.  When companies found that hiring social media influencers could be useful to long-term social media engagement, the need for hiring popular and valuable international social media users increased. As a result, hiring social media influencers to work in the United States has become a crucial component of any successful business strategy.  Naturally, bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers are applying in record numbers for U.S. visas.

Whether you’re a fashion blogger, YouTube comedian, or traveling Instagrammer planning on working in the U.S., you will first need to earn your nonimmigrant visa. A social media influencer wanting to take their talents to the US can get a visa through the O-1B track and a green card through the EB-1A track. D’Alessio Law Group is a leader in helping social media influencers take their work and careers to new heights in the U.S, as DLG founding partner and CEO Lorraine D’Alessio was one of the first attorneys to argue and win the first Social Media Influencer case in the United States for O-1B eligibility. This article will walk you through the O-1B route.

How Do “Social Media Influencers” Fulfill The O-1B Category

O-1B visa category, otherwise known as the extraordinary ability visa, allows for individuals to work within the United States for up to 3 years at a time, and are continuously renewable at the end of each period. Extraordinary abilities include but are not limited to atypical jobs that involve creative decision-making. Social Media Influencers fit the “extraordinary ability” umbrella through brand ambassadorships and/or high views or likes. The argument can be made that brand ambassadorships may satisfy the extraordinary ability category where it can be shown that the influencer contribution is valuable and essential to the promotion to the brand.  Another argument can be made that a high number of views, likes or shares is evidence that the influencers are unique in comparison to peers within the field.

How to Prepare for Your O-1B

While your attorney will file your actual petition, getting your case prepared to submit requires your full cooperation. It is essential that a social media influencer applying for an O-1B visa find an offer of work, prepare biographical documents, obtain deal memos, and collect evidence in the required areas.  Biographical documents include, birth certificate, passport, and previous visas, obtain deal memos, collect evidence in the required areas.  Here is some of the evidence you should consider collecting:

  • Documents concerning the nature of your Brand Ambassadorships
  • Documents evidencing commercial success which would include posts, blogs or videos with your highest views, likes, share, and downloads
  • Evidence of press articles you’ve received evidencing your achievements, including red carpet photos, celebrity/editorial profiles, reviews, interviews, and press releases in major print or online publications.
  • Pay statements evidencing your high pay.  If you are a Brand Ambassador, you should prepare pay stubs that prove that you have earned a high salary for your work.  If you are a YouTuber who is paid monthly by YouTube, you should prepare pay stubs that evidence the amount you are paid by the platform monthly
  • A list of fellow Social Media Influencer, managers, critics, industry executives, or representatives from the brands that you have worked for as a Brand Ambassador.  These persons should be able to attest to your past work and how essential your work has been to their success. Be sure to hold off on drafting any letters or asking these individuals for a letter prior to meeting with your consulting attorney, as they may have a specific and approach to this criteria.  
  • Evidence of any awards you have received from your work as a social media influencer
  • Deal memos that discuss work you will do in the future.  You can procure these memos from US brands or stations you plan to work with.

What Are My Next Steps?

Although public opinion is changing on immigration, it is essential to understand that the Social Media Influencer profession is relatively new. Consequently, no hard and fast rule will guarantee the securing of a visa.  As a result, it is vital that you submit your very best case. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney who has secured O-1B visas is crucial in giving yourself the best shot in obtaining your visa. If you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation with a D’Alessio Law Group professional call us at 310-909-3934.  Be sure to check back in for our follow-up article on the EB-1 green card route and our other professional based articles such as, “How Do I Get A Chef Visa.” For more information check out our video below!

Disclaimer: The information included in this blog post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this blog or any of the links contained do not create an attorney-client relationship between D’Alessio Law Group and the use user or browser.  The opinions expressed at or through this post are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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