O-2 Visas are NOT “Jr. O-1s”

As we discussed in our blog O is for the Oscars and O-1 visas, many individuals in the entertainment industry utilize the O-1 visa as a way to work in the United States.  The O-1 visa has strict guidelines for approval and is intended for individuals with “Extraordinary Ability” in a variety of industries or “Extraordinary Achievement in Television and Motion Pictures.”  We often get calls from business managers or production executives wishing to bring a promising actor or screenwriter to the U.S. on an O-2 visa, assuming that the O-2 is for people who are starting out in their careers … on their way to becoming O-1s.

This is not the case.

The O-2 visa is a category that applies to aliens accompanying an O-1 artist or athlete to assist in a specific event or performance. This person would be acting as an essential and integral part of the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 artist or athlete.  The O-2 performs such support services that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.

The evidence should establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 beneficiary and that the beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1.

In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence should establish that significant production has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.

Berardi Immigration Law has an extensive client list of Actors and Actresses, Directors of Photography, Producers, Writers, Directors and other individuals in the entertainment industry.  We are extremely proficient in the preparation of O-1 and O-2 visa petitions and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your eligibility under this visa category.  Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our Entertainment Immigration Attorneys.

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