O-1 Visa and P-3 Visa for Artists
Dedicated to global immigration law, the Warren Law Firm helps both U.S. employers and foreign national professionals obtain a variety of visas so they can work in America temporarily on a short- or long-term basis.
Angela Warren and her team at Warren Law Firm have over 20 years of experience obtaining O-1 visas and P-3 visas for artists who qualify, for example:
- Specialty Chefs
A San Francisco immigration attorney like Angela Warren can be a great advantage for artists who want to get an O-1 or P-3 visa to live or work in San Francisco, or for San Francisco companies wishing to get a visa for one of their potential employees.
What is an O Visa?
The O visa is a type of visa that is issued to individuals who are considered “internationally recognized athletes, artists or entertainers.”
This visa allows the holder to enter and stay in the United States for a specific amount of time in order to perform at an event or engage in other related activities.
In plain language, that means that an O visa is for people who come to the U.S. to take part in a competition or event, or to work as performers or athletes.
There are a variety of different O visas available including:
O-1: These visas are available to people of extraordinary ability or achievement. Specifically, the O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:
- O-1A: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics.
- O-1B: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industries.
O-2: These visas are available to individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete in order to assist in a specific event or performance.
For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity; for an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.
O-3: Individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.
Who’s Eligible for an O Visa?
There are a few requirements that must be met in order to qualify for an O visa:
- The individual must be coming to the United States to participate in a “competitive event” or take part in other “activities of a similar character.”
- The individual must be considered “internationally recognized” in their field.
- Your work has been described in or you have published articles in major media, professional or trade publications.
- You have made original, scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in your industry.
- You have performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments with a distinguished reputation.
- You earn a high salary or remuneration for your services.
- You can present any other evidence to prove your eligibility.
- The individual’s activities must be “in the interest of promoting a foreign culture.”
Common Questions About O Visas
Check out these commonly asked questions about O visas. If you don’t see the answer to your question listed here, call our office to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. We’ll be happy to give you the answers you need.
Who Needs an O Visa to Visit the United States for Work?
The people who need an O visa to come to the United States include:
- Athletes who are coming to take part in a competition or event
- Artists who are coming to perform
- Entertainers who are coming to work
- Journalists who are coming to report on a competition or event
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How Do You Apply for an O Visa?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for an O visa by submitting the following documents to a U.S. consulate or embassy:
- A completed visa application, Form (DS-160)
- A passport that is valid for travel to the United States
- A passport-style photograph
- A letter of invitation from the event organizer or sponsoring organization
- A letter from your employer (if you are traveling for work)
- Evidence of your internationally recognized status (such as media articles, reviews, etc.)
- Proof of financial support while in the United States
- A detailed itinerary of your activities while in the United States
How Long is an O Visa Valid?
An O visa is typically valid for the duration of the event or activity, up to a maximum of five years. However, the visa may be extended if necessary to complete the event or activity.
What Are the Restrictions on an O Visa?
The holder of an O visa is generally not permitted to work in the United States unless it is related to their event or activity. In addition, family members who accompany the visa holder on an O visa are not allowed to work in the United States.
O Visa vs. B1 and B2 Visas
It’s important to note that the O visa is not the same as a B1 or B2 visa, which are a type of visa that allows individuals to travel to the United States either for business (B-1), or pleasure (B-2). While a B1 or B2 visa may be used for activities that are similar to those allowed on an O visa, such as attending a conference or participating in a sporting event, the B1/B2 visa does not allow the holder to engage in work activities in the United States.
Do You Need an Immigration Interview to Come to the United States on an O Visa?
You will most likely need to attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy as part of the visa application process. During the interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your trip and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for an O visa.
What is the P-3 Visa
P-3 Visas – These visas are for artists or entertainers who teach, perform or coach an art form that is culturally unique.
Who’s Eligible for a P-3 Visa?
To qualify for a professional P-3 visa, these requirements must be met:
- You must be coming to the U.S. individually or as a group to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation.
- You must be coming to the U.S. to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of your art form. The program may be of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
How Do You Apply for a P-3 Visa?
As an individual who is an artist, you can’t petition for an artist visa yourself. You’ll have to be sponsored by your U.S. employer, agent, or foreign employer—via a U.S. agent. The documents they’ll need to submit in a petition to USCIS include:
- Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker
- A consultation letter (as a supplement to Form I-129), which is from a United States labor organization, peer group, or management organization
- An affidavit verifying that the cultural event or program exists
- An explanation of the cultural event
- Copies of evidence that details your artistry and experience, as well as evidence that you are an artist of great merit in your industry
- A written contract between your U.S. employer or sponsoring agent and you—or a detailed description of an oral agreement if no written contract exists—that describes the terms of your performance, including the dates of your performance, your compensation, the length of your contract, and a schedule of events
Regarding consultation letters, here is a non-exhaustive list of organizations that provide them:
Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), National Basketball Players Association, Major League Soccer Players Union, Moving Picture Technicians, Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), and the Directors Guild of America (National Headquarters).
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Do You Need an Immigration Interview to Come to the United States on a P-3 Visa?
After USCIS receives your petition, your agent, employer, or sponsor will get a:
- Notice confirming receipt of your petition
- Notice that you’ll need to submit biometric data, if necessary
- Notice that you’ll need to attend an interview, if it’s required
- Notice of a decision by USCIS
If USCIS grants the P-3 visa petition, you can submit your application for the P-3 visa oversees at an American Consulate.
How Do You Apply for a P-3 Visa at an American Consulate?
In order to apply for your P-3 visa, the documents that need to be submitted include:
- Form I-797A or B, Notice of Action, which is the approval notice that’s sent to your employer once your P-3 petition is approved. Submit an original or a copy of this document
- Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Your passport (a copy)—it should be valid for a minimum of six months past the period of your stay in the United States, and having at least one page that’s blank
- A passport-style color photo that shows your full face, without a head covering, and has a light background. (If you’re required to wear a head dressing as the practice of a religious order, it is permitted)
- A letter from your employer in the U.S. that explains the details of your position, and states that you have the essential skills needed to perform the job
How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a P-3 Visa?
A P-3 visa permits you to stay in the United States for the duration of your event, but the time frame cannot exceed one year. After that time you may be permitted to extend your stay in the U.S., if doing so is granted by USCIS. Extensions are approved for intervals of one year at a time in order for you to continue, or finish, the same activity or event that originally inspired your travel to the U.S. You may qualify for one-year extensions for the duration of the event.
Can Your Spouse and Kids Travel With You on Your P-3 Visa?
If you have a spouse and children (under age 21) who want to travel with you or meet you in the United States for the length of your stay, they may apply for P4 visas.
Can an Immigration Attorney Help You Get an O or P Visa?
If you are planning to come to the United States to take part in a competition or event, or to work as an athlete, artist, or entertainer, an experienced immigration attorney can help you determine if you qualify for an O or P-3 visa and assist you with the application process.
If you would like to discuss an O visa or P-3 visa with an experienced San Francisco immigration attorney, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and determine the best way to move forward. By preparing some documentation that shows your work, wages or awards, we will make the most of our consultation time.
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