New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

How To Get An O Or P Visa

Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

The US government offers some non-immigrant visas for people with extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business or athletics, or in the motion picture and television field. Such visas known as O visas, if granted, are usually given first for three years, and then can be extended indefinitely in one or three years increments.

An O visa requires a petition to be filed by a U.S. employer, a U.S. agent or a foreign employer through a U.S. agent. A person or an entity may act as an agent. In some states, an agent must be licensed. See 8 CFR 214.2(o)(2)(iv)(E) allows agents to file as a petitioner in the following A U.S. agent may be:

  • The actual employer of the beneficiary;
  • The representative of both the employer and the beneficiary; or
  • A person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.

A P visa is available to non-immigrants who are internationally recognized as athletes, individually or as part of a team, or are members of an internationally recognized entertainment group.

The advantages of O and P visas: these visas provide flexible timing and an opportunity for indefinite extensions. There is no requirement for a prevailing wage to be paid to these visas holders and no need to “test” US market for available US workers. The contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary does not have to be in a written form: it is sufficient to summarize its terms. An O or P beneficiary may work for multiple employers, as long as contracts with those employers are summarized and presented by the petitioning agent.

What are the main points a potential O or P visa holder have to be focused on when going through the filing process?

1. An attorney has to help the petitioner to choose the right qualification. A petition might be denied is the non-immigrant is miss classified as an O or P. For example: a petition for an ice skater may be filed under O or under P category; a petition for a musician may be filed under “arts” category or in the category for the motion pictures production (depending on the facts and exact performance...).

2. The petition must be properly documented with the activities expected to be participated in be specified, dated, explained, and sometimes displayed.

3. A consultation letter must be obtained when a union is involved. For example, For O-1 petitions in the motion picture/television industry, the regulations require a consultation from a labor union and a management organization; both must be submitted with the application.

4. Finally, the petition and acting entities must pass USCIS tests for agency, completion, itinerary, event, and etc.

The adjudication time for O and P visas are rather short and premium processing is available as well. One may file an O or P petition up to one year before the actual need for the beneficiary's services.

28 December 2015
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