Artists wishing to enter legal residence in the U.S. have several temporary and permanent options of varying complexity and requirements. Some visa types include opportunities for accompanying family members, ability for spouses to seek employment while in the U.S., and ability for children to attend school.
The temporary (non-immigrant) visas offer artists, athletes, and other entertainers the ability to petition for immigration based upon abilities and achievements as well as under specific exchange programs. The employment-based permanent visas (one of the most widely-used methods to obtain legal residence) offer several options based upon requirements of the specific employment types.
Our firm is experienced in helping individuals find the right solution for their immigration situation. Please contact FValdezLaw PC for additional information on qualifications and options specific to the many types of visas available.
Temporary (Non-immigrant) Visas
O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement)
The O-1 visa allows foreign nationals who have extraordinary abilities or achievements in their respective fields of endeavor to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis to work in that field. This includes extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics and extraordinary achievements in the motion picture or television industry.
Sponsoring employers must provide documentation to USCIS of concrete itineraries, events, and/or projects in which the O-1 worker will participate along with consultations from relevant trade or union organizations. The O-1 visa is one of the most complex visas of all the temporary, nonimmigrant work visa categories.
Support personnel of O-1 visa holders in the fields of athletics, entertainment, motion picture and television production may request an O-2 visa to work in the U.S. temporarily. This status is not applicable to personnel in the sciences, business or education.
P-1 Visa (Internationally Recognized Athletes and Entertainers)
The P-1 visa permits entertainers and athletes to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis to perform and/or compete. Athletes who have an outstanding record of achievement may apply for a P-1A visa either individually, or as part of an internationally recognized athletic team, in order to compete in the U.S.
P-2 Visa (Artists Performing Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program)
The P-2 visa allows international artists and athletes to enter the U.S. on a temporary basis as part of a reciprocal cultural exchange program. This usually involves one U.S. organization abroad and one international organization in the U.S. as part of that exchange.
P-3 Visa (Artists Part of a Culturally Unique Program)
The P-3 visa allows artists or entertainers, individually or as a group, to come to the U.S. to develop, interpret, represent, coach or teach culturally unique programs. These programs usually involve traditional, ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, artistic elements that are performed or presented to students or audiences.
Employment-Based Permanent Visas
EB-1 Priority Workers
The EB-1 classification allows three different types of workers the U.S. government considers to be in high demand to petition for an immigrant visa. Immigrant visa are issued to these workers in higher priority than any of the other preference categories. Once an immigrant visa is issued, these workers may apply for permanent legal residence in the U.S. The three different types of workers include:
- Extraordinary Ability Individuals — These individuals must demonstrate that they have achieved a level of sustained national or international acclaim in the field of the arts, athletics, business, education or the sciences. Successful petitions must include extensive documentation of the individual’s achievements in their field of endeavor and satisfaction of three out of ten of the criteria, which includes documentation showing national or international awards, proof of having judged the work of others, publications, media articles discussing the individual and/or their achievements, box office receipts and much more.
- Outstanding Professors or Researchers — These individuals must demonstrate that they have outstanding achievements in their academic field with a minimum of three years of experience in academia. They must also demonstrate that they are pursuing their field of endeavor in the U.S. in a tenured-track teaching or research position. Successful petitions must include extensive documentation of the individual’s achievements in their field of endeavor and satisfaction of two of the six criteria, which includes documentation showing national or international awards, proof of having judged the work of others, publications and much more.
- Managers and Executives of Multinational Businesses — These individuals must have been employed abroad for at least one year in the past three years by the company sponsoring their immigrant visa petition. These individuals must continue to be employed in the U.S. in the same or similar managerial or executive capacity by the same company, its affiliate or subsidiary. Because these workers receive the highest priority from USCIS, qualifying for this category requires submitting extensive documentation.
The EB-2 classification enables a majority of foreign workers in the U.S. to apply for immigrant visas. Similar to the EB-1 classification, the EB-2 classification is also broken up into different types of workers. However, labor certifications, also known as PERM applications, must first be submitted to and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor before USCIS will issue an immigrant visa, unless the labor certification requirement has been waived.
- Professionals with Advanced Degrees — Individuals must possess an advanced degree or its equivalent (baccalaureate degree and five years of work experienced in the field) and the offer of employment must require an advanced degree.
- Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business — Individuals must demonstrate that they have exceptional ability in the arts, business or science. Successful petitions must include extensive documentation of the individual’s exceptional ability in their field of endeavor and satisfaction of at least three of the listed criteria, including ten years of experience in the field, professional certification or licensure, high remuneration, membership in professional associations, recognition for achievements, and more.
- Professionals Seeking a National Interest Waiver — Individuals who possess an advanced degree and currently working in a field that has a substantial national interest to the U.S. may request a waiver of the labor certification (PERM application) and directly file a petition for an immigrant visa. Qualifying for these categories requires submitting extensive documentation in addition to preparing a labor certification (PERM).
EB-3 Skilled or Professional Workers
The EB-3 classification enables foreign workers in the U.S. to apply for immigrant visas. Similar to the EB-2 classification, labor certifications, currently known as PERM applications, must first be submitted to and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor before USCIS will issue an immigrant visa.
- Skilled Workers — Skilled workers must possess at least two years of job experience or training in their field of expertise and a U.S. job offer is required.
- Professionals with a Bachelor’s Degree — Professionals performing in a professional occupation must possess a bachelor’s degree, or its foreign equivalent. The occupation must typically require a bachelor’s degree and the foreign national must have a U.S. job offer.
- Other Workers — Foreign nationals who possess less than two years of training and work experience must have a U.S. job offer. Qualifying for these categories requires submitting extensive documentation in addition to preparing a labor certification (PERM) to the U.S. Department of Labor.
EB-4 Special Immigrants
The EB-4 classification enables special groups of foreign nationals to permanently work and live in the U.S. These groups include religious workers and former overseas employees.
- Religious Workers — Individuals must have been a paid member of a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the U.S. for the immediate two years before petitioning for an immigrant visa. The individual must also intend to continue to carry out their religious vocation.
- Other Special Immigrants — The list of special immigrants groups include media broadcasters, Iraqi/Afghan translators, Iraqis who have assisted the U.S., international organization employees, physicians licensed to practice in the U.S. since 1978 in H or J status, members of the Armed Forces, employees of the Panama Canal Zone, and retirees of the NATO-6 and their spouses and children.
EB-5 Immigrant Investors Visas
The EB-5 investor visa allows individuals who are interested in investing a substantial amount in a U.S. based enterprise or business to seek permanent residence in the U.S. Permanent residence based on EB-5 investments is granted by USCIS on a two-year conditional basis. After the two-year period is over, the EB-5 investor must demonstrate that all conditions continue to be met in order for conditional residence to be removed.
Please contact FValdezLaw PC for additional information on qualifications and options specific to the many types of visas available. We look forward to discussing your individual situation and helping you find the best solution available.