Visas for Recording Artists Working in the U.S.
The United States has long been a popular destination for musicians and other performers, both up-and-coming and well-established artists. If you are a foreign artist hoping to come to the U.S. to record, or the representative of a domestic recording studio hoping to bring in international talent, you will need the assistance of an experienced visa attorney to successfully navigate the visa petition process.
Am I eligible for an O-1 visa?
The most common option for most performing artists entering the United States temporarily to perform is an O-1B visa. This may be the right option for you if you:
- are entering the U.S. temporarily (not as an immigrant),
- are coming to work on a specific project in the arts,
- have achievements in your field beyond what would normally be expected (national or international awards, critical acclaim, etc.), demonstrating “extraordinary abilities” in the field in which you hope to work, and
- have either a written contract or the summation of an oral agreement with your prospective employer in the United States.
O-1B visas can be approved initially for up to three years; after the initial approved length of stay, they can be extended indefinitely for up to one year at a time. If your services are needed for a new project or event then you may be approved for up to three years. Support staff and family members may accompany the performer, under O-2 or O-3 visas, respectively.
Other Visas for Performing Artists
Although the vast majority of recording artists enter the United States with O-1B visas, this may not be the correct visa option for everybody. Depending upon the specifics of your situation, one of the following visas may be appropriate:
- P-1B: this type of visa applies to members of an internationally recognized group, of which 75% of its members must have been with the group for at least a year. Individuals are not eligible for this visa.
- P-2: available for both groups and individuals performing as part of a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.
- Visitor Visa: in rare cases, a performing artist may need nothing more than a basic visitor’s visa to record in the United States, rather than an artist visa. This applies when the artist is entering the United States for the sole purpose of using a recording studio to record an album that will not be sold or distributed in the United States. No public performances or concerts may be held.
Experienced O-1 Visa Attorney for Performing Artists
Many different options exist for foreign recording artists hoping to work in the United States, and only a knowledgeable visa lawyer can evaluate what might be the correct option for you, and guide you through that process. At Tashjian Law Group, our lead attorney has over 30 years of experience in immigration law. This is our only area of practice, and our founder is a leading authority in the field. We have focused our energy into understanding the intricacies of laws surrounding the visa application process. Contact us today to tell us about your specific situation and learn how we may be able to help you navigate this process in a timely and professional manner.