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Immigration Law Associates, PC

O & P Visas and their Requirements

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O Visas   

The O Visas are set aside for aliens with extraordinary abilities in science, arts, education, business, or athletics, certain aliens accompanying or assisting those aliens, and their family members.

Some requirements are:

  • The O nonimmigrant must intend to work in their area of extraordinary ability or achievement.
  • No numerical cap is placed on the annual admission of these non immigrants.

There are two main categories of O Visas:

   O-1 Visa:

  • It’s set aside for the principal alien with extraordinary ability.

Some requirements for an O-1 Visa: 

  • Must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in the field of expertise by proving evidence of awards, authorship of articles in major publications, employment in organizations with distinguished reputation, among others. 
  • Must demonstrate that the alien will perform in a leading role in production or events which have a distinguished reputation.

   O-2 Visa

  • It’s set aside for aliens who will accompany and assist the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 alien.

Some requirements for an O-2 Visa: 

  • Must have a foreign residence, which they have no intention of abandoning.
  • Must be an integral part of the actual performance and have “critical skills and experience” with the principal alien, which are not of a “general nature” and which cannot be performed by U.S. workers.
  • Must show evidence of preexisting longstanding working relationship with the O-1 alien.
  • Must show that significant production will take place both inside and outside of the U.S. and the continuing participation of the alien is essential to the successful completion of an artistic production.


P Visas

The P Visas cover those entertainers and athletes who do not qualify under the extraordinary ability standard for the O category. It includes athletes who compete individually or as part of a team at an international recognized level. A person who performs as an athlete, coach, or part of a team or franchise that is located in the U.S. and is a member of a certain foreign league or associations.

There are two main categories for the P Visas:

P-1- It’s set aside for certain athletes and entertainers.

Some requirements are:

  • Must have international recognition, or a contract with a major U.S. sports league or team.
  • An entertainment group must have international recognition as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained period of time.
  • 75 percent of the members of the group must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least 1 year.

P-2– It’s set aside for artists and entertainers who seek to be admitted through a reciprocal exchange program between a foreign based and U.S. based organization.

Some requirements are:

  • Exchange agreements.
  • Entertainers being exchanged must have similar skills and/or similar working conditions.

P-3– It’s set aside for artists and entertainers who will perform “under a program that is culturally unique” presentation or performance.

It also includes those coming to the U.S. with the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching unique or traditional ethnic, folk cultural, musical, theatrical, or artist performance or representation.

Filed under: Immigration Issues

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