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Nonimmigrant Visas

Persons with Extraordinary Ability & Members of the Entertainment Profession (O) & Athletes, Artists & Entertainers (P)

O-1 Visas:  The O-1 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television production, and their essential support personnel.

Only individuals qualify for the O-1 visa category. In order for a group to qualify, each member would be required to meet the extraordinary ability test. The visa is granted for a specific event, such as a tour, lecture series or project.

O-2 Visas:  For athletes and members of the entertainment industry, a provision exists whereby aliens, who are an integral part of the performance and have skills and experience which are not available in the United States location, may apply for O-2 visas to accompany the O-1 visa holder.

P-1 Visas:  The P-1 visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel. Individual members of the entertainment industry are not eligible for the P-1 visa classification, but individual athletes are. For members of the entertainment industry, the visa will be issued for a specific event only. However, individual athletes may be admitted for five years and a team for a period of six months.

P-2 Visas:  The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.

P-3 Visas:  The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.

Filing a petition with USCIS

Your sponsor is required to file a petition, Form I-129, on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your sponsor or employer should contact the USCIS for further information. In the case of an alien who is traditionally self-employed or who uses agents to arrange short-term employment with numerous employers, an agent may file the petition with the USCIS. An agent may also file a petition on behalf of a foreign employer.

It is the responsibility of the USCIS to determine whether the alien qualifies for O or P visa category. Any questions concerning eligibility should be addressed to the appropriate USCIS office.

Applying for the Visa

On approval of the petition, you may apply for the visa.  Please review the following FOUR STEPS below before beginning your visa application.

Step 1: If you have ever arrested and/or have a criminal conviction, have a medical ineligibility, or have been denied entry into or deported from the United States you will be required to furnish documents relating to your situation in support of your application.  Please click on the relevant links for further information.  

Step 2: Click on "How to Apply" on the left-hand Navigation bar for information on method of application.  If you are booking for a group of 9 or more, please follow this link for further information

Step 3:   Complete the online DS-160.

Step 4:  Gather additional required documents.

Are you eligible for the Visa Reissuance Program? Use our Wizard to find out!

: We always recommend that individuals apply for visas well in advance of their proposed date of travel. No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of non refundable ticket should not be made until a visa has been issued and you are in receipt of the passport

Are you eligible for a B-1/B-2 visa?

Spouses, Children & Partners

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    Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative O-3 or P-4 visas. Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program .

    More information for partners and common-law spouses .

    O-3 & P-4 verses F-1

    There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an O or P visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on derivative O-3 or P-4 visas. However, if they are qualified, they may apply for the F-1 visa. If you have school age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.

    Working on an O-3 or P-4 visa

    The holder of an O-3 or P-4 visa may not work on a derivative visa. If he or she is seeking employment, the appropriate work visa will be required.