Visas Specifically Designed for Performers Are Called O-1 Visas for Performers

There are many various types of visas that are available through the USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those who qualify can use the O-1 visas for performers. This type of visa is specifically designed for those who wish to come to the United States as performers, athletes, and those with extraordinary abilities or achievements. The O-1 visa is a non-immigrant status.

Qualifications Needed to Obtain an O-1 Visa

A number of different types of activities qualify applicants for the O-1 visa. These include individuals with:

  • Extraordinary Abilities or Achievements in Motion Pictures
  • Extraordinary Abilities in the Arts
  • Extraordinary Achievements in Education, Science, or Business
  • Athletes Who Excel In Their Sport

If you meet the criteria for one of these options you may be able to obtain an O-1 visa. There are two main types of O visas including the O-1A for those in the sciences, music, or education, or athletics and O-1B for those in motion pictures or television.

How to File a Petition for the O-1 Visa

Eligible O-1 visa applicants must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. The form must be filed within one year of your expected visit to the U.S. In addition to the form, the applicant must include:

  • Consultation or Exception to Consultation
  • Contract
  • Itinerary
  • Agent
  • Any Other Pertinent Information

Specific types of information may be required to establish eligibility, depending on your reason for the petition. If adequate supporting documentation is not provided the applicant is at risk of denial. It may be helpful to speak with a qualified immigration attorney before preparing the petition.

Additional Information about O-1 Visas

When an applicant petitions for an O-1 visa you must provide the dates that you will need to be in the U.S. An extension may be granted if additional time is required. Extensions are typically granted in increments of one year. If the O-1 visa holder changes employers the new employer is required to submit information for authorization. Professional athletes are subject to special rules so it is best for these applicants to discuss their specific situation with an immigration attorney.

Family Members of O-1 Visa Holders

Immediate family members of O-1 visa holders may be eligible for temporary visas. This visa status is called O-2. The spouse or minor, unmarried children of the O-1 visa holder are typically eligible as long as they are not disallowed for any other reason. The visa petition process can be a complex one. If you are seeking an O-1 visa and need some assistance, call the skilled legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Visas for Performers, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.