How To Obtain An Entertainment O-2 Visa
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Criteria For The O-2 Visa
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.
As well, O-2 visa holders are restricted to working only with the O-1 alien. The O-2 accompanying alien cannot work separate and apart from the O-1 alien for whom support is provided.
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Conditions For The O-2 Visa For Non Motion Pictures/TV
Conditions For The O-2 Visa For Motion Pictures
For O-2 aliens accompanying an O-1 alien of extraordinary achievement involved in a motion picture or television production, the alien must show the following:
Must have skills and experience with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which are critical based on a pre-existing longstanding working relationship OR with respect to the specific production, because significant production (both pre and post production work) will take place both inside and outside of the U.S.
Must show the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.
For all O-2 visa applicants, the evidence should establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 alien with the O-1 beneficiary and that the O-2 alien has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1 beneficiary.
In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence should establish that significant production has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 alien is essential to the successful completion of the production.
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 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 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.
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.
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who possesses 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-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.
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.
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