Entertainment Visas for Artists: What Do I Need?

If you are a foreign artist hoping to work in the United States, you will first need to acquire the appropriate nonimmigrant visa. There are several options for artists seeking to perform, record, or otherwise work in the U.S., and only a qualified visa attorney can assist you in determining which visa option is correct for your activities. If you are an individual seeking to work in the arts or the television and motion picture industry, you will most likely want to pursue an O-1B visa with the assistance of an experienced O-1 visa lawyer from Tashjian Law Group.

Requirements for Visas for Musicians

Some of the requirements will vary depending on the specifics of your project, but in general you can expect to need the following:

  • a valid passport;
  • a specific timeline/agenda for the project in which you plan to participate, including all the locations where you will be working;
  • a written contract or summation of an oral agreement with the U.S. employer with whom you will be working;
  • evidence of previous accomplishments in your field (awards/nominations, written consultations from relevant organizations, etc.) OR evidence that you are traveling and performing as part of an internationally recognized group;
  • an agent willing to represent you and/or your prospective employer in the visa application process (this applies even if you are typically considered self-employed).

The O-1 Visa for Foreign Musicians

Most musicians and other artists coming to the United States to record or perform can do so under an O-1 visa, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services defines as “a nonimmigrant visa…for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.”

The standard for demonstrating previous accomplishments for this type of visa is relatively high, but benefits of the O-1 include:

  • Initial approval for up to three years
  • Indefinite renewals for one year at a time
  • The ability to bring along essential support staff with O-2 visas, or spouses and children with O-3 visas
  • Eligibility for approval for multiple concurrent projects

O-1 Visa Lawyer with Almost 25 Years of Experience

If you are performing as part of an internationally recognized group, rather than as an individual, or if you are participating in a cultural exchange program, a different type of visa may better suit your needs. Whether you are hoping to come to the U.S. under an O-1, P-1, P-2, or other type of entertainment visa, an immigration attorney from Tashjian Law Group can help you navigate the process and ensure that all steps are completed accurately, and in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, in the fiercely competitive entertainment industry, delays caused by improperly filed visa applications can cost aspiring artists their jobs. We pride ourselves on specializing solely on immigration law, allowing us to devote all our energy and attention to ensuring that every client we serve receives the absolute best quality of service. For timely and professional assistance you can count on with your entertainment visa needs, contact us today.

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