What is the Artist/Athlete Companion O-2 Visa
What is the Artist/Athlete Companion O-2 Visa,
One of our clients who is a fashion model based in Europe and has worked with major fashion/jewelry brands has recently received their O-1 visa. From the start, the client wanted to continue working with her personal make-up artist in the United States, with whom she had built her career together in Europe. When the two arrived at an airport in the U.S. and presented their visas, they were both allowed entry. How was this possible?
The O-1 visa, also known as the so-called “artist visa,” is a work visa intended for artists with extraordinary abilities in various fields of art, such as fine art, graphic designing, music, fashion, performance, architecture/interior, film/TV broadcasting, culinary arts, etc. In addition, O-1 visas are also available to those with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, education, business, and athletics. As O-1 beneficiaries must have superior abilities compared to others in their field of endeavor, the USCIS sets forth a lengthy criteria that a person must meet in order to prove that they do indeed possess extraordinary abilities and achievements in their field of endeavor that merit O-1 status.
Apart from such rigorous criteria, there is a separate visa for professionals who support O-1 visa holders in the fields of athletics and arts (including motion picture and television), and that is the O-2 visa. Supporting professionals, such as an actor’s manager or a member of the costume team, individuals that support the filming of a movie/production in the United States (staff members for camera/lighting/sound effect crews, etc.), an athlete’s coach or trainer, Sous Chefs or Chef de Party that support executive/head chef’s, are some occupations that qualify for an O-2 visa. In addition, there are cases where junior-level designers in fashion or architecture that assist head designers have been granted O-2 visas. What these O-2 visa beneficiaries have in common is that, despite the fact that they do not meet the strict requirements of the O-1 visa, they have experience working with an artist/athlete that holds or qualifies for an O-1 visa.
The following must be provided to be approved for an O-2 visa:
• Evidence of the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 beneficiary (that they are an integral part of the actual performances or events);
• Evidence that the O-2 beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1 beneficiary;
• Evidence of the duration and nature of the work between the O-1 beneficiary and O-2 applicant; and
• An advisory opinion/consultation letter from a trade union or expert group in the relevant field
In other words, unlike O-1 visas that require evidence extraordinary abilities and achievements in the field of endeavor, O-2 visas can be obtained by meeting standards that are significantly easier to meet. Rather than focusing on abilities and achievements, O-2 visa applicants only need to prove their relationship with the O-1 beneficiary and their plans to support the O-1 beneficiary’s main activities in the U.S.
During consultations with prospective clients, we find that many people have a misunderstanding when it comes to O-1 visas; that only prestigious international awards of the highest level or in-depth interviews from highly distinguished media are required when applying for the O-1 visa. Undoubtedly, such achievements would definitely aid in obtaining an O-1 visa, but in reality the vast majority of applicants receive their O-1 visas with must lesser achievements. The O-2 visa’s criteria is even less strict, so don’t give up because you “think” your career is lacking or in early stages. We strongly recommend that you seek the help of a professional immigration attorney for advice on what visas are a match for your particular situation.
We hope that this column has been helpful for those that are planning to apply for an O visa. If you have any questions regarding the O-2 visa, please contact us at email@example.com.