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O-1 visas for top artists and motion picture and TV professionals

There are several types of visas available for top-tier artists of many kinds to come temporarily to the United States to work in their field. One of these options is the O-1B visa, which is for people who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the film or television industries.

For an artist, the O-1B visa requires you to show distinction. This means “a high level of achievement in the field of the arts.” You will need to show evidence that you have a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that which one might see in an ordinary artist. You must be prominent, renowned, leading or well-known in your field.

For someone in the motion picture of TV industry, you qualify for an O-1B visa by demonstrating “extraordinary achievement.” This requires evidence that you have achieved a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that of an ordinary person in your field. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the words “outstanding, notable or leading” in television or the movies.

One thing you will need is a written advisory opinion from a peer group or labor organization (for artists) or a labor union and a management organization (for the film and television industry). This advisory opinion must be written by someone with expertise in your field. If there is no appropriate organization or peer group to provide this opinion, there is an alternative process.

The peer group or organization will examine evidence of your extraordinary ability or achievement, such as awards or prizes you have won, media coverage about you, honorary societies you have been invited to join or other things that demonstrate your skill and reputation.

The first step is to get a job or agent

In order to qualify for an O-1B visa, you will need a U.S. employer or agent, or a foreign employer with a U.S. agent, to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. They should file this form at least 45 days before they need your services, but no longer than a year.

Your employer or agent needs to submit the advisory opinion mentioned above, along with a copy of your contract and your itineraries.

How long can I stay?

The O-1B visa is not for immigration to the U.S. It allows you to work in the U.S. for a period of up to three years. The USCIS will determine how long your initial stay can last. If you remain with the same employer or agent, you may be able to extend your stay, as well.

If you meet these criteria, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people work in the U.S.