The O-1 visa classification is for persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or extraordinary achievement in motion pictures and television production, and essential support personnel.
Only individuals qualify for the O-1 visa category. In order for a group to qualify, each member would be required to meet the extraordinary ability test. The visa may be granted for a specific event, such as a tour, lecture series, or project.
The O-2 visa classification is for athletes and members of the entertainment industry who are an integral part of a performance possessing skills and experience not available in the United States. Such persons may apply for O-2 visas to accompany an O-1 visa holder.
The P- 1 visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel. Individual members of the entertainment industry are not eligible for the P-1 visa classification, but individual athletes are. For members of the entertainment industry, the visa will be issued for a specific event only. Individual athletes may be admitted for five years and a team for a period of six months.
The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers.
The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.
All applicants for O and P visas must petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States for approval. This is done by filing a Form I-129 petition with the USCIS.
Form I-129 may be obtained from the USCIS in the United States. Please complete the I-129 and send it to one of the USCIS Regional Service Centers listed on the form.
After the USCIS receives the completed I-129, they will take two to eight weeks to process it. Once approved, the employer or agent is sent a Notice of Action, Form I-797, the notification of petition approval. An I-797 approval notice is not a visa. You must obtain a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enter the U.S.
For information on applying for this visa, please see the application checklist.
NOTE: As of January 2008, DHS requires electronic confirmation of I-129 petitions for the issuance of worker visas. Petition approval is now verified in the Department of State's system called Petition Information Management Service (PIMS). During your interview, the consular officer will use the receipt number of your I-797 approval notice to verify petition approval, so please make sure you bring the I-797 to the interview.
Please note that a visa will not be issued before this electronic confirmation is completed. If your petition information can not be confirmed on the PIMS system at the time of your interview, it may take approximately 14 days from the interview for you to receive your visa, provided you are found otherwise eligible for the visa. Please apply for your visa well in advance of your travel date, and do not purchase plane tickets until you have received your visa.
- Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 can receive O or P visas to accompany the principal to the US. The application procedure is the same.
- If your family members apply after your visa has been issued, they will need to have a copy of your visa included with their applications.