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Entertainment Visas (O-1B Visas) In New Jersey, New York and Indiana

Special provisions are made for entertainers and performers of various types who come to, and reside in, the United States either on tour or for a single prolonged engagement. In order to obtain the necessary entertainment visa -- known as an O-1B -- you must be able to prove exceptional ability in your particular art form (acting, ballet, music, etc.). Further, you must be able to demonstrate that you are essential to the completion of a particular performance that cannot be readily performed by a worker from the U.S.

Evidence Necessary to Obtain an O-1B

In order to receive an entertainment visa, which will provide you with permission to enter the U.S. and reside here temporarily, you must provide convincing evidence of your particular talent. Pertinent evidence includes significant national or international awards or prizes in your field (e.g. an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy, or a Director's Guild Award or at least evidence of three of the following:

  • Past performance as a lead or star in production or events that have been touted in critical reviews, advertisements,
  • publications and/or publicity releases or endorsements
  • National or international recognition and critical acclaim 
  • Acclaimed successes shown by ratings, box office receipts, film or television ratings and occupational achievement reported in major publications
  • Recognition for achievements on a national or international scale from government agencies, experts in the field, and/or testimonials from critics
  • Continually high salary in comparison to others in your field 

In order to avoid processing delays, if you want to obtain an entertainment visa you should fill out and submit the necessary documentation at least 45 days prior to your desired date of employment.

Because entertainers, like others who come to the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas, often want their family members to accompany them to the United States, another visa exists for this purpose: the O-3. By filling out the proper paperwork, the performer's spouse and children can accompany him or her and stay for the time allowed -- usually 3 years with the possibility of annual extensions. In addition, O-2 visas may be obtained for individuals who will serve as assistants to the performer in question. Family members of the performer will not be permitted to work during their time in the U.S. and assistants will be restricted to working only for the performer with whom they entered this country.

Entertainment visas are often needed on relatively short notice and are important to the performer's reputation enhancement as well as income. These are good reasons for you to engage the services of a skilled and savvy business immigration attorney to guide you through the process. 

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