How To Obtain An Entertainment O-1 Visa
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We Understand Entertainment Law
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As immigrants to the United States, we understand the issues that foreign nationals encounter when crossing the border, applying for visas, finding employment in a new country and relocating. It is a stressful time in your life and having your visa matters go smoothly is extremely important.
“A very huge thank you to Lorraine D’Alessio and team for assisting us with my O-1B Visa, as we could not have done this without their professional expertise and continual support throughout the entire process.
The entire teams extreme knowledge base has undoubtedly served me well, and so we highly recommend Lorraine D’Alessio and her incredible team to assist you with your needs. Extremely grateful.”
We also realize that many foreign-born actors and other artists have not yet won an Academy award or Grammy award. We know how to use other evidence to qualify you for an entertainment visa. We work one on one with our clients. You are never passed off to a paralegal or secretary to prepare your case.
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We are where you want to be. We know how to get here. We have personal experience in the immigration process and the entertainment industry. We understand your logistical requirements as well as your legal requirements.
We know how to navigate the complex entertainment visa requirements. We know how to quickly and effectively obtain union consultation letters prior to submitting your O-1 visa application to USCIS. We understand the types of documentation you will have and what to ask you for.
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Benefits Of The O-1 Visa
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
The O visa is separated into different categories and has slightly different criteria and requirements depending on the type of extraordinary ability and work to be performed.
- The O-1A visa is intended for those individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including those working in the arts, motion pictures or television industry).
- The O-1B visa is for those individuals who will work in the arts, motion picture or television industry who can show a demonstrated record of distinction in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.
- The O-2 visa is for individuals who will accompany an O-1 artist or athlete to assist the O-1 visa holder in a specific event or performance.
- The O-3 visa is available to the spouse and unmarried minor children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
Qualifying for The O-Visa
To qualify for an O-1 visa in the sciences, education, business or athletics, the beneficiary must demonstrate that they have a level of expertise showing they are in a small percentage of those who have risen to the top of their field of endeavor.
The beneficiary must demonstrate distinction, which is considered to be a high level of achievement in the field of the arts, as evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered; the artist must show they are prominent in their field. While distinction in the field must be established for those in the arts, it is a lower standard than for those in the sciences, education, business or athletics.
To qualify for an O-1 visa for work in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement which is characterized as a very high level of accomplishment in the motion picture or television industry. They must illustrate a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding or notable in the motion picture or television field.
Individuals cannot petition themselves for O visa status. An employer, U.S. agent, US citizen or business manager must petition for O visa status for the foreign beneficiary. If there are multiple employers, each employer must file a separate petition unless a agent is used. Agents can petition for multiple employers if authorized to do so.
The federal regulations relating to O visas list the specific criteria required to qualify for the various types of O visas. The criteria for each O visa is provided below.
O-1A – individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics ( not including arts or motion picture/TV) must show sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by providing:
- Evidence that the beneficiary has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
- Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought that requires outstanding achievements of members, as judged by national or international experts recognized in the field;
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, or major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field;
- Participation on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field of specialization;
- Original scientific, scholarly or business related contributions of major significance in the field;
- Authorship of articles in the field as shown in professional journals or other major media;
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
- A high salary or other remuneration for services in the past or future.
If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may provide comparable evidence.
O-1B – individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts (not including motion picture/TV) must show they are prominent in their field of endeavor by providing:
- Evidence that the beneficiary has been nominated for, or has received significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Evidence the beneficiary has performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements;
- Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
- Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials;
- Record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications;
- Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged; testimonials must clearly indicate the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements;
- Evidence that the beneficiary has commanded or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field.
If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s artistic occupation, the petitioner may provide comparable evidence.
As listed in the federal regulations, the field of arts includes any field of creative activity or endeavor such as fine arts, visual arts, culinary arts, and performing arts; it also includes essential persons such as directors, set designers, lighting designers, sound designers, choreographers, choreologists, conductors, orchestrators, coaches, arrangers, musical supervisors, costume designers, makeup artists, flight masters, and stage technicians. The field of arts is not limited to this list and can include other artistic endeavors.
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As an O visa nonimmigrant, the beneficiary may be admitted to the United States for the validity period of the petition up to 3 years. The beneficiary may be admitted to the United States for a period of up to 10 days before the petition validity period begins and up to 10 days after the validity period ends. However, the beneficiary may only engage in authorized employment during the validity period of the petition and not during the 10 day periods.
There is no maximum overall time limit in which the O visa holder may remain in O status as there are for some other temporary visa categories. However, extension requests must be file timely if an O visa holder intends to remain inside the United States in O visa status.
Extension Of Stay
Extensions of O status may be granted in increments up to one year to continue performing duties in connection to the same event. The petitioner must request an extension of stay to continue or complete the same event or activity.
If an extension of stay is filed by a new employer or by the same employer but for a new position, the beneficiary may be granted an extension up to 3 years. However, keep in mind that in many cases the USCIS will look to the contracts and itinerary provided to determine the length of time needed to complete the event(s).
Beneficiaries are never guaranteed that they will be granted visas or extensions for the maximum time permitted by law.
“I’ve been working on my visa and renewing 3 times already and this is the first time I had no problems. I could call to my Lowyer immediately, I could send an email even on weekends and they answered, everything was fast and super professional!!! I couldn’t recommend any firm more than them. The team is just beyond!
Btw got my visa after 2 weeks that they send my paperwork!”
The O-2 visa is available for those foreign nationals who plan to enter the United States to accompany O-1 aliens in the arts, motion picture and television industry, as well as athletics. Please note there are no laws providing for O-2 visas to accompany O-1 aliens working in the sciences, education or business fields.
O-3 Visas For Family Of O-1 And O-2 Visa Holders
The spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for an O-3 nonimmigrant visa, subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the O-1/O-2 visa holder. They may not work in the United States under this classification, but they may engage in full or part time study pursuant to the O-3 visa.