February 24th is Hollywood’s biggest award night – The Oscars. While many actors are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents (green card holders), there are just as many who are not. So, how do foreign national actors and others in the entertainment industry work in the U.S.? The O-1 visa category.
The O-1 visa category is an employment-related status that allows qualified aliens of extraordinary ability to live and work in their particular area of specialization in the United States. There are several different types of visas in the O category.
The O-1A category is for individuals with an extraordinary ability and sustained national or international acclaim in the Sciences, Education, Business, or Athletics.
The O-1B category is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the Arts who can show sustained national or international acclaim, or for individuals with extraordinary achievement in Motion Picture & Television productions who can demonstrate recognition in their field.
O-1 Fast Facts:
• Beneficiary must have a temporary offer of employment in his/her area of specialty;
• High evidentiary standards must be met to prove that worker has qualifying extraordinary ability in field;
• Petitions may only be filed by a U.S. employer or a U.S. agent (no self-petitioning allowed);
• No labor certification is required;
• Petition must include a written advisory opinion from an appropriate consulting entity regarding the nature of the work to be done and the beneficiary’s qualifications;
• Upon approval, the beneficiary may be admitted for up to three years; and
• Dual intent is permitted, so Beneficiary may seek to become a permanent resident while holding O-1 status.