O-2 Visa eligibility and criteria

June 14, 2018 by Liran Jakob Rosenfeld

O-2 Visa eligibility and criteria

O-2 Visa is issued to foreign nationals who accompany O-1 Visa holders in the fields of arts, athletics, television and motion picture industry. They could be accompanying the O-1 visa holder to perform at a specific event, show or performance. The O-2 visa holder should be able to demonstrate critical skills and require exceptional ability to accompany the O-1A Visa/O-1BVisa holder, in order to replace a US worker in the same field. The O-2 Visa holder’s skills should be essential for the successful performance of the O-1 Visa holder’s show. O-2 petitioners usually do not accompany the O-1A Visa holders, who are individuals with extraordinary ability in the field of science, education or business with an exception of athletics. In order to accompany an O-1 A Visa holder, the O-2 Visa petitioner’s assistance should be an integral part of the O-1’s activity. Similarly, the petitioner should be able to demonstrate an integral role they have to perform for the successful completion of the O-1B’s production. The o-2  applicant usually works in conjunction with O-1B Visa holders, who have exceptional ability in the fields of arts and entertainment.

O-2 Visa Application Process

The applicant should file Form I-129 with USCIS, which is the petition for nonimmigrant worker. An O-2 Visa petitioner’s application should be petitioned as a supplement to the services offered by the O-1A Visa/O-1B Visa holder. The O-2 Visa petitioner cannot file Form-129 before 1 year until the O visa holder begins their employment. Form I-129 should be filed 45 days before the employment of the O Visa holder begins.

O-2 Visa Application Process

Evidence for an O-2 Visa petitioner

The O-2 Visa petitioner should be able to produce evidence demonstrating critical skills, essential services, and sufficient experience to support the O-1A Visa/O-1 B Visa holder. The O-2 Visa beneficiary should be able to prove that they are a part of a motion picture or television production which was filmed outside the US and their travel to the US is essential for the successful completion of the film or television show. After the approval of the visa petition by USCIS, the petitioner can apply at the US Embassy for the visa. Visa application processing and issuance fees are established by the Department of State. The O-2 Visa petitioners with extraordinary skills in athletics or the arts are required to have a consultation with an appropriate labor organization. While the O-2 petitioners with extraordinary achievements in motion pictures or television are required to have a consultation with an appropriate labor organization and a professional management that is considered an expert in their field. The exception to the consultation requirement can be made if the petitioner is able to demonstrate that the labor organization no longer exists, in that case, the decision would be made on the basis of the evidence of record.

Period of Stay

The O-2 Visa petitioners are allowed an initial stay period of up to 3 years. However, for the extension of stay, USCIS determines the time required depending on the nature of the event or activity in increments of up to 1 year.

O-1 and O-2 Visa holders Family and Spouse

O-3 Visa is issued to the spouse and children of O-1 and O-2 nonimmigrant visa holders who are under 21 years of age. The O-3 Visa is subject to same admission and limitations as the O-1/O-2 Visa. The petitioners are not allowed to work under this visa type, however, they can pursue full-time or part-time studies.

In the scenario, an O-2 holder wants to petition for a Green Card, they have to submit an application separately from an O-1 holder and meet individual requirements. The petitioner should submit the green card renewal application Form I-90 within 6 months of the expiration of their Green Card.