Legal Blog

Securing the O-1 Visa: A Recipe for Unlocking the Culinary Dream

Hobby cuisine course, senior male chef in cook uniform teaches young cooking students to peel and chop apples, ingredients for pastry foods, fruit pies in restaurant stainless steel kitchen.The O-1B visa is a golden ticket for foreign culinary professionals to bring their culinary skills to the US. The O-1B visa, which is for artists of extraordinary ability, also extends to skilled chefs and bakers. Yes, if you are a culinary professional exploring visa options for the US, the O-1B visa option might be the perfect recipe for you.


Essential Ingredients


Willing U.S. Petitioner

A U.S. petitioner ready to sponsor and hire the culinary professional.


Skilled Culinary Professional

A highly skilled culinary professional who is “extraordinary” and has significant experience. The professional should be able to provide evidence of at least three out of six of the evidentiary criteria for the O-1B visa.


Requisite Forms

Gather necessary forms, including the G-28, I-129 with the O Supplement, to be filed with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).


Support Letter

A letter from the U.S. petitioner in support of the culinary professional.


Consultation Letter

A consultation letter from the American Culinary Federation (ACF), even if the culinary professional is not a union member.



  1. Consult with an Immigration Attorney for identification of the best options and guidance on navigating the process for both the US petitioner and the culinary professional.
  2. Collect the Evidence, including reference letters, industry awards, press coverage etc. The evidence should meet three out of six of the required evidentiary criteria that immigration looks for in an O-1B petition.
  3. Prepare Requisite Forms and Documents, including the support letter from the US petitioner in favor of the culinary professional and all the necessary government-issued forms. It is suggested to obtain the help of an immigration attorney to ensure proper filing of the O-1B petition.
  4. Obtain a Consultation Letter from the ACF highlighting the culinary achievements of the foreign professional and reasons why the professional’s skills are ideal for the position. To process the consultation letter, the ACF requires a copy of the O-1 petition of the foreign national accompanied by the requisite fee.
  5. File with USCIS once the O-1B petition is complete, including all the above-mentioned forms and documents. The immigration office will then process the petition and evidence to determine the culinary professional’s “extraordinary status.” If the office decides in favor of the culinary professional, it will issue an I-797 Approval Notice. If not, the office may either deny the petition or request additional evidence.
  6. Obtain Visa Stamp from the US Embassy/Consulate Abroad (excluding Canadians) after the I-797 Approval Notice has been issued. Please note that the visa stamp is necessary as the I-797 Approval Notice itself is not a visa.
  7. Arrive in the US and start cooking masterpieces with the US petitioner.


*Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of requirements. Please consult an immigration attorney for a comprehensive list of requirements and processes.


Headshot of Mohammad Ali Syed, principal attorney with the Employmeny Law Group Practice in Bethesda, | 240.507.1784

Over the past twenty years Mohammad (Mo) Ali Syed has developed a thriving immigration, litigation and international business practice.  In Immigration Law, for individuals, his experience includes family-based immigration, sponsorship, fiancé visas, asylum, naturalization, and U.S. citizenship. He has obtained EB1 expedited green cards for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics. For businesses, Mr. Syed has vast experience with nonimmigrant and immigrant visas including H-1B, PERM (employment-based green cards), E1/E2 treaty traders and investor visas, L1 intracompany transfer visas, O, P, foreign professionals, and multinational managers and EB5 investor green cards.