What Kind of Visa Would a Foreign Actor Need to Work in the U.S.?

As a foreign actor, if you intend to work in the United States, you will need to acquire an O-1B visa. Often time is of the essence: any delays or mistakes in the petition process could delay the project, or worse, cost you the job. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for an “individual who possesses extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.”

The O-1B is specifically for individuals working in the arts, motion picture or television industries. It allows an individual to stay in the U.S. temporarily, for an agreed-upon length of time, for a specific purpose or project. Our visa lawyer is happy to partner with you through the process to ensure that everything is completed in an accurate and timely manner.

How can I apply for a visa for actors?

Firstly, you will have to have a petitioner to file on your behalf. This petitioner is often the U.S. employer or an agent appointed to represent both you and the employer. Even if you are considered self-employed, you cannot represent yourself and will need to select an agent.

In order to successfully petition for your O-1 visa as an actor, your agent will have to submit a Form I-129, preferably at least 45 days and no more than one year before the start date of your project.

What a Form I-129 Includes

In addition to the form itself, which includes basic information regarding yourself, your prospective employer, your length of stay, and the project you will be working on, your agent will also need to attach the following:

  • Written consultations from relevant labor and management organizations within the motion picture or television industry
  • A copy of the contract under which you will be employed. If no such written contract exists, then a summation of an oral agreement is also acceptable.
  • Proof that you have either received or been nominated for a significant national or international award in your field. If this is not applicable, then at least three other forms of evidence may be provided demonstrating your exceptional skill and achievements.

Other Considerations

Often a foreign actor hoping to work in the United States will not travel alone. You may have support staff that needs to come with you, or a spouse and/or children that you don’t want to leave abroad while you work in the U.S. If this is the case, then these individuals will also need the appropriate visas in order to accompany you. An assistant whose services are essential to the completion of your project may accompany you under an O-2 visa, while spouses or dependent children will need an O-3 visa.

Contact an O-1 Visa Attorney Today

Tashjian Law Group is proud to focus only in immigration law, and to support individuals coming to the U.S. for a variety of reasons. If you are a foreign actor pursuing work in the United States, or if you are an agent representing a foreign actor, it is crucial that the visa petition process is completed correctly and efficiently. Whether you are applying for your first O-1 visa or seeking an extension on an existing visa, we can offer you the expert guidance and support that you need. Give us a call now to talk about how we can help.

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