Artists & Entertainers
Los Angeles Artist Visa & Talent Visa Lawyer
California Artist Visa & Talent Visa
Entertainment Immigration Lawyer
The United States has long been a popular destination for entertainers and musicians from all over the world. From amateurs to professionals, to the world-renowned, they are all ready to demonstrate their star talents to the most discerning of American audiences worldwide. Global artists and entertainers come to the USA to promote the exchange of ideas and cultures, serving as ambassadors of their nations and members of their arts, and in the process enrich both societies.
The U.S. has always welcomed entertainers and musicians of all genres and accepted and respected talented performers from diverse cultures, showering them with accolades, appreciation and rewards.
Although there may seem to be few visa types available to Artists and Entertainers, each non-immigrant US artist visa and entertainer visa has its own applicability, benefits, and limitations. Therefore, it is important that artists and entertainers, as well as their employers and/or agents, understand and be aware of the different choices they may have, and what goal each classification has to avoid any problems or issues that may occur with the immigration laws in the US.
Our best entertainment visa lawyer for artist green cards can help with any artist visas to the United States.
O-1B Visa for Artists & Entertainers
O-1 Visa Eligibility
The O-1 visa classification is a temporary U.S. work visa that is typically available to those who have “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sciences, business, education, athletics, or in the motion picture or television industries.
Extraordinary ability means “distinction” or a high level of achievement for most artists and entertainers, demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above what is ordinarily encountered. For those in the film or television industry, extraordinary ability means having a record of extraordinary achievement demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition that is substantially higher than that usually experienced to the extent that the individual is regarded as outstanding, notable or leading in the field of motion picture and/or TV.
Only individual artists and entertainers are eligible for the United States O-1 visa category, meaning that, for example, a group of entertainers or a band will not qualify for a single application. However, individuals who accompany an O-1 artist or entertainer to assist in a particular event or performance, and whose assistance is “essential” to completing the performance of the artist or entertainer, may obtain an O-2 visa.
The O-2 beneficiary must have crucial expertise and experience with the O1 artist or entertainer that can not be readily handled by a U.S. worker, and that is necessary for the O1 artist or entertainer’s successful performance. While a band’s leader will apply for the O-1 visa, the remaining band members may qualify for an O-2 visa.
The O-1B visa is often the best U.S. visa for actors who are still in the earlier-to-mid stages of their careers.
O-1 Visa Process
In order to obtain the O-1 visa classification, the U.S. employer of the artist or entertainer, a U.S. agent representing either the employer, the artist or both, or a person or entity authorized by the employer as its agent, must submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with accompanying documents demonstrating extraordinary ability in the field. This individual or entity acts as the O1 artist visa sponsor.
Any O-1 petition must also be accompanied by a written advisory opinion from a peer group or labor association or an individual approved by such a group with experience in the field of talent of the artists or entertainers. If the O-1 petition is in the motion picture or television industry for an artist then the consultation must come from the labor union and a management group. O-1A and O1B processing times vary greatly.
NOTE: An artist or entertainer can be exempted from the consultation letter requirement if he or she seeks readmission to provide similar services within 2 years of the date of an earlier consultation letter. Such artists and entertainers may submit a request for a waiver, and a copy of the petition’s previous consultation letter. If the artist or entertainer shows that there is no acceptable peer group, the decision will be made on the evidence already in the record.
Each O-1 petition must also submit a written contract or a summary of the terms of an oral contract between the employer/agent and the artist. In some cases, contracts with third-party clients may be needed. Petitions also require the submission of an itinerary with a description of the events or activities that the artist or entertainer shall participate in, along with the start and end dates.
After USCIS approves the visa petition, individual artists and entertainers who come from outside the US must apply for their O1 visa at a US embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
O-1 Visa Admission & O-3 Visa Dependents
O-1 Artists and entertainers can initially be admitted to the United States for a duration of 3 years (the term may depend on the contract terms and/or the itinerary). Extensions of stay can also be given in intervals of up to 1 year for the time required to accomplish the initial event or activity.
The O-1 artist’s or entertainer’s spouse and children under the age of 21, as well as any O-2 support workers, may be eligible to apply for a non-immigrant O-3 visa.
Dependents with O-3 visas may not work in the United States, but may pursue full or part-time study.
P-1B Visa for Entertainment Groups
P-1B Visa Eligibility
The P1 visa classification is available to artists and entertainers who are temporarily coming to the United States to perform as a part of an entertainment group that has been internationally recognized as outstanding for a sustained and substantial period of time. However, the P1 visa classification is intended for those performing as part of a group as opposed to the O1 visa classification that is offered to individual artists and entertainers.
Also eligible for P-1 classification are essential support staff, along with artists and entertainers, who are an integral part of the success of P1 artists or entertainers, and who provide support services that can not be done readily by a US worker.
To qualify for the P-1 visa for the internationally recognized entertainment group and its members, at least 75 percent of the group members must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. The entertainment group must also be recognized internationally, meaning it must have a high level of achievement demonstrated by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above what is normally found. The group’s reputation, not the individual accomplishments of its members, needs to be recognised worldwide.
NOTE: Circus performers and essential circus support workers are excluded from the requirement of the one year “group” and the internationally recognized requirement. But they must come to join a nationally recognized circus.
In certain cases, some nationally known entertainment groups may have waived the internationally recognized criterion if they can prove that they have been nationally recognized as outstanding for a sustained period of time.
P-1B Visa Process
In order to receive a U.S. P1 artist visa or P1 entertainer visa, the U.S. entertainment group employer or its U.S. agent must file a P1 petition with USCIS, along with a consultation letter from an appropriate labor organization on the nature of the performance, or a statement proving that the group has been organized and performed regularly for at least one year.
NOTE: The consultation letter requirement is waived if no appropriate labor organization exists.
The petition must also include a contract between the employer/agent and the entertainment group/individuals and an itinerary of events.
Upon approval of the P1 visa petition by USCIS, members of the group may apply for their P1 visa at an appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
P-1B Visa Admission
P-1 entertainment groups may initially be admitted to the United States for the period required to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year. Extensions of stay may also be granted in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.
P-2 Visa for Artists & Entertainers Participating in a Reciprocal Exchange Program
P-2 Visa Eligibility
The P-2 visa classification is available to artists and entertainers who temporarily come to the U.S. to perform, either individually or as part of a group, as part of a reciprocal exchange program between an entity in the U.S. and another country. Equally eligible for P-2 designation are essential support staff that are an integral part of a P-2 artist or entertainer’s performance and who provide support services that can not be readily provided by a US worker.
To apply for a P-2 artist visa, the artist or entertainer must enter the U.S. through a reciprocal exchange program approved by the government. Moreover, he or she must possess skills equivalent to those of the American artists and entertainers participating in the exchange outside the United States.
P-2 Visa Process
In order to receive the P-2 visa for artists and entertainers, the U.S. sponsoring organization or the U.S. employer must file a P-2 petition with USCIS and pay the P2 visa cost, along with a written consultation from a suitable labor organization.
It is important to send evidence that the organization in the U.S. was engaged in negotiating or agreed with the reciprocal exchange of U.S. and international artists and entertainers. Also the petition should contain the events itinerary (if more than one event). It is important to follow a P2 visa checklist to make sure all eligibility criteria are met.
Once USCIS approves the petition, artists and entertainers can apply at an appropriate US embassy or consulate in their home country for their P-2 artist visa USA.
P-2 Visa Admission
On a P2 visa, artists and entertainers may be admitted to the United States for the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year, initially. Extensions of stay may also be granted in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance.
P-3 Visa for Artists & Entertainers Performing as Part of a Culturally Unique Program
P-3 Visa Eligibility
The P-3 visa classification is available to artists and entertainers who temporarily enter the United States for performing, teaching, or coaching, either individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique. Also eligible for P-3 status are essential support workers that are an integral part of a P-3 artist or entertainer’s performance and who provide support services that can not be readily provided by a US worker.
The artists or entertainers must come to the United States to apply for the P3 visa in order to develop, interpret, represent, coach or teach an unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. Moreover, he or she must come to the United States to take part in a cultural event or events that will further the understanding or development of its art form.
P-3 Visa Process
To receive a P3 visa, the U.S. employer or sponsoring organization must file a P-3 petition with the USCIS and pay the p3 visa processing fee, along with a written consultation from an acceptable labor organization, and either affidavits, testimonials or letters from recognized experts attesting to the validity of the skills of the individual or group in the performance, presentation, coaching or teaching of the unique and traditional art forms, or documentation that demonstrates that the performance of an individual or group is culturally unique, as proven by reviews in journals, newspapers or other publications. Also, if the events or performances are held in different locations, an itinerary must be sent, detailing the dates and locations of the activities.
Once USCIS approves the visa petition, artists and entertainers can apply for the P-3 visa at a suitable U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
P-3 Visa Admission
P-3 Visa Artists and Entertainers may be admitted to the United States for the time needed to complete the event, activity or performance, not to exceed 1 year, initially. Extensions of stay may also be granted in increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, activity or performance.
P-4 Visa For Dependents Of P-1, P-2, P-3 Visa Holders
The spouse and children under the age of 21 of P-1, P-2 and P-3 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a P-4 non-immigrant visa. Dependents with P-4 visas may not work in the US but may engage in full or part-time study.
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