O-1 nonimmigrant Visa is granted to individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the fields of science, arts, education, business or athletics. O-1 Visa is also issued to individuals who can produce evidence of extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry and they have a national or international recognition.
Assistants and Dependents of O-1 holders
When spouse or children under the age of 21 years accompany the O-1 Visa holder they are categorized into the O-3 Visa status category. When supporting artists who help the main artists with their performance accompany the O-1 Visa holder, they are categorized into the O-2 Visa category.
With the recent political changes in the U.S., obtaining an O-2 and O-3 Visa can be cumbersome. If you are in Los Angeles, it is advisable to hire an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles or consult an immigration law firm in Los Angeles.
Below is a description of O-2 and O-3 Visa status, time period allotted for stay and application.
This non-immigrant status is available to those who want to accompany and assist in the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 alien. Qualifications for O-2 status includes the alien to be an “integral part” of the actual performance and have “critical skills and experience” with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by U.S. workers.
In order to qualify for O-2 status, the petitioner must be able to establish that the beneficiary has met the standards necessary for claiming their O-2 Visa:
- In order to accompany an O-1 artist or athlete of extraordinary ability, the alien must provide evidence of current essentiality, skills, and experience of the O-1 beneficiary and evidence of prior experience working with the principal O-1 alien.
- In order to accompany an O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, etc., the alien must provide evidence that significant production work has taken place outside the U.S. and will continue in the U.S. and that the alien’s continuing participation is critical to the success of the production.
In addition, the O-2 beneficiary must maintain a foreign residence that he or she has no intention of leaving.
Hiring an Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles
Just as with an O-1 petition, consultation with an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles or an immigration law firm in Los Angeles or an appropriate peer group that can attest to the O-2 alien’s qualifications and necessity is a must before the petition can be approved by the USCIS. If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group does not exist then there will be an exception to the consultation requirement. The petition decision will be based on the evidence on record.
At least 45 days before the start date of employment, the petitioning employer must file a petition (Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) with the USCIS for the O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 alien. More important, the petitioner may not file the Form I-129 more than one year before the O-1 nonimmigrant will begin employment.
Individuals who are eligible to apply for an O-3 nonimmigrant visa can be a spouse or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany an O-1 or O-2 status holder to the United States. They are also subject to the same period and limitations as the primary O-1 or O-2 alien. They are not allowed to accept employment unless they have been granted an Employment Authorization Document.
If the spouse or child is already in the United States on another nonimmigrant classification, they may file a separate change of status application in order to accompany the O-1 or O-2 holder.