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Performing Entertainers Visa
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Performing Entertainers Visa

What do the Beatles, Heidi Klum, and the National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China have in common? In order to perform in the United States, they had to get approval from the government.

Types of performing entertainers visas
All non-U.S. artists and entertainers who want to work in America must go through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Guest artists usually need one of the following:

  • O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement;
  •  P-1B Visa for a Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group;
  • P-2 Visa for an Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program; or
  • P-3 Visa for an Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program.

Which visa is right for you depends on your situation. It’s important to know the differences between them. If you choose the wrong one and have to apply again, it will take a lot longer to come to the U.S.

Performing Entertainers Visa (O-1 Visa) for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 Visa is for people who are extremely good in the arts, like singing or dancing. It is also for people who are extremely good at making or starring in movies or television.

In order to be approved, the person must have received or been nominated for a significant award related to what they’d like to do in the U.S. For example, an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy, or Directors Guild Award would be accepted.

Non-award options
If the person has not won or been nominated for an award, they have to show evidence of at least three of the following:

  • The person is performing a main role or other important role for at least a second time. The role is in a successful production or event. There are certain things that show it is successful, like advertisements, endorsements, publicity releases, and expert reviews.
  • The person is praised nationally or internationally for their success. Experts praise the person in their reviews, newspaper articles, trade journal articles, magazine articles, and more. Or, the person is asked to write articles to share their opinion and knowledge, showing that others want to learn from them.
  • The person can show evidence of their success, like with high ratings or by how many people attended a show or event.
  • The person is praised by organizations, including government organizations, or other experts who are qualified to judge the person’s talent.
  • The person is paid more money than most people with the same talent. This is shown through contracts, paychecks, and other forms of payment.

P-1B Visa for a Member of an Internationally Recognized Entertainment Group
The P-1B visa is also for people who want to perform for a period of time in the U.S., but this is for members of an internationally known entertainment group.
In order to be approved, the person must show evidence of the following:

  • At least 75 percent of the people in the group have been members for at least one year.
  • The group is so talented they are internationally known as the best.

P-2 Visa for an Individual Performer or Part of a Group Entering to Perform Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program
This visa is not given often. It is for people who are part of an exchange program. This means artists come to the U.S. to be part of a program, and artists from the U.S. are part of the same program in their country. There are very few programs that are approved for this type of visa.

P-3 Visa for an Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program
The P-3 visa is for entertainers coming to the U.S. either individually or as a group. The individuals or group want to teach, coach, develop, represent, or interpret something that is unique or traditional. It must also fall into the category of a folk, ethnic, cultural, theatrical, musical, or artistic performance or presentation.

Families and support workers
Since entertainers don’t travel alone often, it is possible for others to come with them. Support workers and certain family members, like spouses and unmarried children under age 21, are usually approved.

Contact us
If you are a performing entertainer, don’t try to apply on your own. We can help you decide which visa is right for you. We can also tell you what needs to be done and when you need to do it. Call us at 813-298-7222, or email us by clicking here, or schedule a phone appointment by clicking here.

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