- What is an O3 visa?
- What does an O3 Visa allow you to do?
- What are the eligibility requirements for an O3 Visa?
- How do I apply for an O3 Visa?
- What are the required documents for an O3 Visa?
- How long does the application process take for an O3 Visa?
- Validity period and extensions for the O3 Visa
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is an O3 visa?
The O3 Visa is utilized by Canadian citizens who are dependents of someone who is holding an O category visa. It is a non-immigrant visa category, and falls amongst all of the O Visa classifications that include:
- O1 Visas (O–1A and O–1B). These are visas for individuals that have extraordinary abilities within their area of expertise
- O2 Visas. These are visas that are for the assistants and/or key personnel staff of the holder of the primary O visa
- 03 Visas. These are visas for the dependents of O1 and O2 visa holders working within the US
Eligible dependents that can join you in the US under an O Visa are unmarried children under the age of 21, your spouse, or your civil partner. The holder of an O3 Visa can either go with you to the US and stay long-term or simply visit you at leisure while you are in the States. An O3 Visa holder is eligible to study full-time whilst in the US, but they will not be able to work legally whilst under this particular visa.
What does an O3 Visa allow you to do?
Holders of an O3 Visa will be able to enter the United States to either live with a family member who is already on an O Visa or visit them without having to apply for a new visa every time.
The main benefits of being a holder of an O3 Visa include:
- Being able to drive a car legally and obtain a US driver’s license
- Being able to undertake a full-time and/or part-time course in an educational institution
- Being able to open a bank account under their own name
- Having the freedom to travel to and from the United States as much as you like, as long as it is within the authorized timeframe of the original O visa
There are some restrictions as to what you can do while you are in the US under an O3 Visa. One of the main restrictions is the fact that you will not be able to work while you are under this category. You will also not be eligible to get a Social Security number.
What are the eligibility requirements for an O3 Visa?
To qualify for an O3 Visa, first and foremost, you must be a dependent of someone that is in the US on an O category visa. Unfortunately, dependents do not extend to immediate family members such as siblings or parents. It is only inclusive of children who are unmarried and under the age of 21, a spouse, or a civil partner.
To be eligible to apply for this visa, you must be able to prove that you are in fact a spouse or child of the primary O category visa holder. This can come in the form of a birth certificate, adoption certificate, marriage certificate, or civil partnership certificate. These will need to be included in your documentation.
All applicants must have a clean criminal history in Canada and elsewhere, and they must have no history of ever having overstayed in the US on a previous visa, nor can they have violated any US immigration laws in the past.
How do I apply for an O3 Visa?
You should begin the application process for your O3 Visa when your principal O Visa holder originally applies for their visa, or you can do so once their visa petition has been approved. Visa applications can be quite timely, so it is best to get a kickstart on the process and apply sooner rather than later.
Firstly, you will need to complete the online Form DS–160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application. This is a relatively quick form that includes questions about your personal information and the purpose of your visit to the US. Once you have submitted the form, you will get a confirmation page which you will need to print out. This is very important, as you will need to bring this alongside you to your visa interview, and any missing documentation could prolong your application.
Once you have paid the application fee of $190, you will then be able to schedule an appointment for your visa interview with the Embassy or Consulate in Canada. It may be convenient to organize this at the same time as the interview that the primary O Visa holder will need to attend, however, this may not always be a possibility. It is important that you take a copy of your paid invoice for the application fee alongside your other documentation.
The visa interview is an opportunity for you to prove to an immigration officer that you have a genuine relationship with the primary holder of the O visa, and that you have no intentions of overstaying your stay in the US. It is also your opportunity to prove your character and demonstrate that you have no intention of breaking US immigration law, and intend to move back to Canada once the visa has expired.
When attending your interview, make sure you take all of the required documents alongside you, including your interview confirmation letter, all supporting documentation requested, and any evidence that will help prove your intent and eligibility for the O3 Visa.
What are the required documents for an O3 Visa?
In order to have a successful application, you will need to supply a certain amount of documentation. Most of the documentation will revolve around evidence that the principal O Visa holder has the appropriate status, as well as proof of your relationship with them. Some of the required documents you will need to include are as follows:
- A completed and signed Form I-129
- The confirmation page that you printed when filling out your original online DS-160
- A copy of the approval notice given to your primary O Visa holder (if interviewing separately)
- A copy of your receipt from your application fee
- Proof of your relationship with the primary O Visa holder
- Evidence that you can sustain yourself financially whilst in the US
- A valid passport or travel document
- Your interview confirmation letter
You may also include any extra evidence that you believe will solidify your application and support your eligibility for the O3 Visa.
It is important that all of your documents are submitted in English. If the originals are in an alternative language, you will need to provide a certified translation of these at the time of your interview.
How long does the application process take for an O3 Visa?
From the time that you submit your original application for your O3 Visa, to receiving your notice of approval, the processing time is usually about six weeks. However, like all other visas, some O3 Visa applications may take up to 3 months or more.
This is all dependent on the workload of the Embassy at the time, the quality of your application, and any individual circumstances that may raise any red flags. This is why it is so important to submit all requested documentation the first time around, as well as provide detailed information and evidence when applying for your O3 Visa.
The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be able to update you on the status of your O3 Visa application. Alternatively, you can check for status updates on the Consular Electronic Application Center website.
Validity period and extensions for the O3 Visa
The amount of time that you can stay in the US depends entirely on the length of the visa of the primary O Visa cardholder. If the O Visa for the primary holder expires in three years’ time, then, conclusively, so will your O3 Visa.
However, you can apply to extend your O3 Visa if you wish to spend more time in the US. You can only do so if your spouse or parent (who is the primary holder of the O Visa) applies for an extension on the main O Visa as well. The O3 Visa will only work hand-in-hand with the primary visa holder.
To apply for an extension, the primary O Visa holder (alongside their employer) will need to fill out and complete Forms I-129 and I-194, and submit a new application alongside the required documentation. Once they have been approved, you will need to file Form I-539 to extend your personal visa. An O visa can only be extended in one-year increments.
Regardless of the type of visa you select for your circumstances, the best step is to get in touch with the team at Total Law, so you know that you are guaranteed the right path, and stand for a much higher success rate for your immigration application. You can contact us seven days a week, either on the phone or by using the online chat function to speak with one of our client care agents.
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The O3 Visa is only valid during the timeframe of the primary holidays O Visa. This can be up to a maximum of three years, which can be extended at one-year increments if necessary. This means that you cannot stay longer than your family member who is the principal O Visa holder.
If your parent or spouse is returning to Canada and you wish to stay to further your education or potential career, you will need to change your visa category to one that is more appropriate for your needs.