How Do I Work in the US as an Artist, Athlete, or Entertainer?

Individuals with unique skills as an artist, athlete, or entertainer may qualify for short-term O, P, or H visas to the United States. Read on to learn about the different visa options available to persons of unique talents who wish to further their professional goals in the U.S. Anyone with specific questions about visas for artists, athletes, or entertainers should contact experienced Colorado immigration attorney Catherine Brown for personalized advice.

Artist Short-Term Visas

Artists seeking temporary residence in the United States may qualify for a P visa, an O visa, or an H-1B visa.

  • P-3: An artist may qualify for a P-3 visa if he or she comes to the United States individually or as a group to promote “culturally unique” art. An artist may enter the US on a P-3 visa if he or she intends to develop, interpret, represent, coach or teach their unique art through a cultural event of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
  • P-2: An artist may qualify for a P-2 visa if he or she comes to the United States to perform as part of a government recognized reciprocal exchange program between a U.S. organization and an organization in another country.
  • O-1: The O-1 visa is designated for artists “with distinction.” According to the S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, distinction in the arts is defined as being “renowned, leading, or well-known” in the field of arts.
  • H-1B: An artist may enter the U.S. on an H-1B visa if he/she possesses a B.A. in their specified field (or qualified relevant experience) and has a job offer in the U.S. from a U.S.-based organization that requires that same degree or same relevant experience. The 3-year H-1B visa may be renewed for 3 additional years.

Entertainer Short-Term Visas

Entertainers seeking temporary residence in the United States may qualify for a P visa or an O visa.

  • P-1B: A member of an “internationally recognized” entertainment group may temporarily enter the U.S. on a P-1B visa. The applicant must prove that ¾ of the group’s members have been with the group for at least a year and that the group has achieved significant recognition for their skill and achievement.
  • P-2: Individual entertainers and entertainers who are part of a group may enter the U.S. as part of a reciprocal exchange between a U.S. organization and an organization in another country.
  • P-3: An entertainer may come to the U.S. individually or as part of a group under a P-3 visa if they are participating in a “culturally unique” program of a commercial or noncommercial nature.
  • O-1: Entertainers who have achieved a high level of distinction through extraordinary achievement in their field may be issued an O-1 visa. “Distinction” can include a critically-acclaimed performance, recognition from experts in the field, or commercial success.

Athlete Short-Term Visas

Non-U.S. athletes wishing to come to the United States may qualify for an O visa, a P visa, or an H-2B visa.

  • O-1: Athletes with extraordinary ability or achievement can receive an O-1A visa. Evidentiary criteria of an athlete of distinction may include internationally-recognized awards or prizes or membership on an elite-level team.
  • P-1A: The P-1A visa is for an individual who is coming to the U.S. to perform as an internationally-recognized athlete or as a member of a team taking part in a distinguished event.
  • H-2B: Athletes who do not meet the more stringent criteria of an O-1 or P-1 visa may qualify for an H-2B visa, or temporary non-agricultural worker visa. Recipients require a sponsoring team, which must obtain a labor certificate from the Department of Labor.

Review our Handout for Artists, Entertainers, and Athletes http://cbrownlaw.com/legal/artists-denver-lawyer/

Speak with an Experienced Denver Immigration Attorney

The different visa options available to foreign artists, athletes, and entertainers can be confusing. Navigating eligibility requirements and application material is much easier with help from an immigration attorney who has been through the process many times and understands the issues that can arise.

Catherine O. Brown has been practicing immigration law exclusively for more than 13 years and is available to help immigrants from all backgrounds. Contact the Law Office of Catherine Brown, LLC, to get help from an attorney.

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