Entertainment Related Visas, What are your options?

I represent a lot of foreign performers in securing them either P or O visas. I have represented Grammy Award Winners and I have represented bands still awaiting their big break and have been successful gaining US working visas for both.

Lets start with the visa options and the difference between an O visa and P visa. O visas are typically for Individual performers, athletes, actors, professors etc. They are classified as “Individuals with Extraordinary Ability”. O-1A is for applicants who excel in the sciences, education, business or Athletics. O-1B are for Performers in the Arts (Acting, Music, Painting etc).

The P-1 visa is typically for bands.

How do you Qualify?

The easiest way to qualify for an O-1 Visa is to receive a Major, Internationally recognized award such as a Nobel Prize, Olympic Medal, Grammy Award, or something of that nature. For the Majority of clients, this is not an options, so we prove three of the seven secondary categories.

For O-1B filings (people involved in the Arts) they are:

  • Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements
  • Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications
  • Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
  • A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications
  • Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements
  • A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence

In future blogs, I will break down these categories further for you.  But, if you think in terms of the categories listed above, it will help you greatly when you start gathering your preliminary information/proof.

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The above information is general in nature and is not intended to be considered or relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible to apply for adjustment of status or whether the potential reward of consular processing is worth any risk created by leaving the U.S.

What Are the Consequences of overstaying your visa?

Back in 1996 the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) created three year, ten year, and permanent bars on admission to the U.S. for a variety of immigration status violations.

These bars apply widely and affect immigrants who have family in the U.S., have worked and paid taxes in the U.S., and in many cases are otherwise eligible for permanent resident status.

The three year bar to re-entry into the U.S.: The three year bar applies to individuals who have been unlawfully present in the United States for a continuous period of more than 180 days, but less than one year, and who voluntarily depart the U.S.

The ten year bar to re-entry into the U.S.: The ten year bar applies to individuals unlawfully present in the U.S. for an aggregate period of one year or more who depart voluntarily. Unlawful presence begins to accrue when the period of authorized stay expires or after an entry to the U.S. without inspection.

If you have overstayed your visa for the amounts of time listed above, and you leave the country, the bar automatically applies.

 

What you need to be careful of?

 

Most people confuse their visa (the sticker that is placed in their passport) expiration date and their I-94 (the amount of time granted by the officer when you enter the country) expiration date. The only date really matters for the purpose of this subject is the I-94 expiration date. To find your I-94 date, you should go to this site: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html . Coincidentally, this is also a helpful link if you are applying for Citizenship and need a reminder on some of your recent entries into the USA.

 

The key is to always pay attention to the expiration date on your I-94. Pay particular attention to this if you are granted a B-1/B-2 visa for 10 years, although the visa grants you the right to enter the USA during the next 10 years, it typically does not allow you to STAY in the USA without leaving for 10 years.

 

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have overstayed your allowed time, you need to find an Immigration Attorney to discuss your options BEFORE you depart. The automatic bars are hard to overcome, but we do have some options.

 

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The above information is general in nature and is not intended to be considered or relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible to apply for adjustment of status or whether the potential reward of consular processing is worth any risk created by leaving the U.S.