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  4.  » I have an O-1 visa. Can I bring my support staff and family to the US?

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I have an O-1 visa. Can I bring my support staff and family to the US?

Yes, as long as they are admissible to the United States in general. O-2 visas are available for workers who are essential to supporting you for your performances. O-3 visas are available for the spouses and minor (under 21) children of O-1 and O-2 visa holders.

O-1 visas are for people with extraordinary achievements in the arts, sciences, education, business, athletics, the film industry or the television industry. The first step toward obtaining one is to get a job offer from a U.S. employer or, in some cases, an agent or foreign employer working in the U.S. Your employer or agent files Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf.

The O-1 visa is issued for a specific time period of up to one year. You can renew for up to three years.

O-2 visas for essential support staff

If you will be bringing workers who are integral to your performance or job, your employer or agent files a Form I-129 for each of them between one year and 45 days before the date your employment begins.

In order for these workers to get O-2 visas, the employer/agent must submit evidence of their eligibility, including:

  • A consultation from an appropriate labor union with expertise in each worker’s skill area. If in the film or television industry, each worker must submit a consultation from an appropriate labor organization and a management organization with expertise in that skill area.
  • Evidence that establishes each worker’s essentiality, critical skills and experience with your work, and that they have substantial experience performing critical skills and essential support services for you. If in film or television, the evidence must show that significant production (including pre- and post-production) has taken place outside the U.S. and will take place inside the U.S., and that each worker’s continuing participation is essential to the successful completion of the production.

Once the USCIS approves the Form I-129 for each worker, they can apply for the O-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

O-3 visas for immediate family

Both O-1 visa holders and their essential support staff (O-2 visa holders) can bring their spouses and children (under 21) to the U.S. for the same period of stay. These family members are generally eligible for O-3 visas.

These family members can accompany you to the U.S. or join you later. The O-3 visa does not allow them to work in the U.S., but they can participate in full-time or part-time study.

O-1 visa holders who want to bring family and support staff to the U.S. should contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience with this process.