How to win the “Extraordinary Artist” O1 Visa as an architect with a J1 Visa

At the beginning of the interview with Barbara Pomilio, Pati starts by asking her about the reason for going to USA, which she mentions is partially due to her boyfriend moving to New York City, after they met in Germany, and she saw New York City as a great city to prove yourself and find other like-minded people.

Barbara studied in Buenos Aires for 6 years for her Architecture degree at the University of Buenos Aires. She is now planning on getting licensed in the USA, but already got licensed in Argentina. NCARBB is needed along with a certain amount of hours that a supervisor approves, as well as 6 different exams.

During her time in University in Argentina, she was a freelancer but you need to balance the different hours needed and the flexibility also means that hours range depending on demand. Barbara worked for the company that she freelanced for, and was able to work over 5 years with them, which has allowed her to understand how to work remotely.

3 different experiences every architect should have: work at a small studio, work for a star architect, and working in a corporate office.

During one of her projects with her neighbor, she got paid in airline miles, and was able to travel to Morocco, where she met some Germans that became friends, and they recommended she go study in Germany. During German university, Barbara also worked at an internship in Germany, but they didn’t pay her well and had her working crazy hours. Then she worked at an office in Berlin for a year before moving to the US. She didnt speak any german which made it more difficult. If you wanted to grow professionally there you need to learn german. At larger firms, most would speak english.

Differences between Argentina, US and Germany: Germany, most difficult part was the language. Germany has lots of funding so she worked on huge projects (i.e. Opera), but in Argentina she worked on smaller, more residential projects. Design approach differences? Head of design in Berlin was Argentine-German so they had similar design approaches. Brainstorming is the same, with the crazy last minute changes and post it brainstorming and the fast pace can be fun, but tiring.

USA firms tend to be more willing to provide learning resources and invest in their newer hires. What you recommend people do to make move to the USA? Learn Revit, Love NYC cause you feel at home since people from all over the world, meet many like-minded people, and feel at home even when uncomfortable.

Things happen and you need to make the best of it!

Sometimes the experience of living in the city, where your friends and come and leave, it makes it difficult to maintain social life at times.

For the O1 Visa she got a lawyer through Architect-US to make the process easier, but the process is very long, cause you have to contact everyone that you have worked with, and her portfolio has 600 pages, so make sure you start the process 6 months or so before you want to get the visa. 

Portfolio is a crucial part of the O1 Visa process, and you should state everything you have done! Organize it clearly. You need to get 6-10 letters for references, and talk with clients, professors, previous employers. Do not submit a generic reference letter, needs to be very specific in terms of explaining why you are so outstanding! Publications and awards are crucial if you have them available

Future plans. Try to go to Argentina for the holidays, and then grow with StudioSuperette, before we were three people and now eight people.

If you have any questions for her, please submit them below and we will respond ASAP! 👇👇👇👇


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