What Is an O2 Visa?
The O2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for noncitizens who work with O1 visa holders in athletics, entertainment, television production, and motion picture. O2 visa holders provide support services to O1 visa holders with extraordinary abilities and achievements.
As an O2 visa applicant, specifically in the television or motion picture industry, you must hold an integral position that necessitates your continuing participation in and out of the United States. Your role must be crucial to carrying out a significant production. In other words, you must have specialized knowledge and capabilities for the successful completion of production.
For exceptional artists or athletes (O1 visa holders), you must play a crucial role in the artistic or athletic performance or activity.
The O2 visa is a temporary visa. It does not include the business, education, or science fields.
- What Is an O2 Visa?
- What Are the Requirements for O2 Visa?
- What Are the Required Documentations for Eligibility?
- How to Apply for an O2 Visa
- What Is the Processing Time for an O2 Visa?
- What If I Want to Change to O2 Visa Status?
- Can I Extend my Stay?
- What Is the Validity Period of an O2 visa?
- Can I Travel with My Family Members?
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Requirements for O2 Visa?
The following are the requirements for O2 Visa beneficiaries:
- Your purpose for travel must be exclusively to assist an O2 visa holder in performing their artistry skills.
- You must play a crucial role in the performance or actualization of the event.
- You must have the critical skills and experience that are specific and specialized. It must not be an easily accessible skill among US workers.
- You must have the same skills as the television or motion picture expert (if applicable) due to a long-term work relationship between you two.
- You can not work independently of the O1 visa holder you assist.
- You must only have a change of employer due to the O1 visa beneficiary changing employer.
- You must only work with an O1 visa holder under whom your petition for Nonimmigrant Worker was filed.
- You must be able to demonstrate that you have critical skills synonymous with the o1 visa holder.
The US employer, US agent, or foreign employer must file a petition for Nonimmigrant worker – Form I-129.
The following are the documents that must be attached to the petition:
- Evidence that is relevant to the O-classification.
- Copies of written contracts or summary of an oral contract of employment terms.
- Description of the activities or events with the start and end dates.
- Activities or events itinerary.
- Written advisory opinion letter from the relevant consulting body.
The documents you submit with your petition must meet the following criteria:
- Documentation such as affidavits, awards, and contracts must describe the beneficiary’s accomplishment and have the signature of an official or responsible employee of the institution, corporation, establishment, or organization where the job was done.
- Affidavits from your current or former employers or recognized experts attesting to your extraordinary ability or achievements must do so with verifiable facts. It must also include details of the affiant’s expertise and how they obtained the information.
- Photocopies of supporting documents. USCIS may also request original copies.
Evidence of Contract
In the situation where there is no written contract stating the nature of agreements binding on you and the prospective US employer, you must provide a summary of the provisions of an oral contract.
The oral contract must be in the form of the following:
- Emails between you and the other party.
- Written summary of the terms of the agreement.
- Other forms of proof of oral contract.
The written summation of the oral contract must include the following:
- The terms of the petitioner or employer’s offer.
- The terms you agreed to.
Both concerned parties do not necessarily need to sign the oral agreement for it to be effective.
Your petitioner must provide a Consultation letter. The letter is an advisory opinion letter from a recognized organization that has expertise in your area of expertise skills. For O2 visa applicants, the relevant organization must be a certified labor organization.
The requirement for the advisory opinions are:
- The advisory opinion must be from a labor union and a management organization if your O2 classification petition is for the motion picture or television industry.
- The opinion must provide details on your skills and work experience with the O1 holder.
- The opinion must indicate if the project requires working inside and outside the United States of America (if applicable). If not, it should state “no objection.”
When there is no labor organization, the petitioner must provide proof. The USCIS will then make a decision on the documentation already provided. Advisory opinions must only be from one of the USCIS-recognized organizations.
The consultations only serve advisory purposes to provide further information on the beneficiaries. The USCIS is not obligated to base its actions or decisions on it. Thus, if the appropriate labor organization provides an unfavorable advisory opinion, it does not immediately result in petition denial. Only verifiable evidence can determine the USCIS decisions, which may override a negative opinion.
File a Visa Petition Nonimmigrant Worker
The first step in applying for an O2 visa is filing a petition for employment. The prospective US employer or agent or a noncitizen employer through an agent in the United States must file the petition. The agent can be a representative, employer, or a person or entity with permission from your employer to act as an agent.
The petition must be filed within a year before the need for your services in the United States. The petitioner will fill out Form I-129 for Nonimmigrant Worker and submit it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The petitioner must pay the appropriate visa petition fee. The fee is not fixed and is only determined by the USCIS.
The USCIS will provide the fee and other additional fees to pay. The employer is solely responsible for all the fees.
The petitioner must submit the documents as described above along with the petition form:
- Opinion letter.
- Employment Contract.
- Job description.
Wait for a Decision
After successfully submitting the petition form and the required supporting documents, the USCIS will review your petition. After the review, you will get a decision on your application from USCIS. If your application gets approved, the USCIS will send you and the petitioner Form I-797, Notice of Action.
A Notice of Action does not mean that immigration has been approved. It only means you can continue with your application to enter the United States. You must still meet the requirements for immigration permission.
Apply for Nonimmigrant Visa
You can apply for a nonimmigrant visa on the USCIS website. The application requires filling out the DS-160 form for all nonimmigrant visa applications. You need to provide your details and information on your intended travel, work experience, family, and US contact.
Your representative can apply for the nonimmigrant visa if you do not wish to apply yourself, but you must sign the form yourself. Once you are done filling out the form, submit and print the confirmation page.
Take a copy of the confirmation page with you to the visa interview.
Pay Your Visa Fee
You are responsible for this visa application processing fee. The fee is $190.
Schedule an Appointment
Since the US DOS Bureau of Consular Affairs establishes visa application processing and issuance, you must apply for consular processing. The visa application requires that you visit the US embassy for an interview.
First, you must schedule an appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate close to you. You will get a date and time for your interview.
Prepare Your Documents
You must provide documents proving your eligibility for an O2 visa and that you have gone through the appropriate application process. Note that the documents are crucial to the outcome of the Consular Officer’s review. Incomplete documentation may delay your application processing or result in application rejection.
The following are the required document to get together before your interview:
- Appointment letter.
- Copy of DS-160 confirmation page.
- Copy of the petition Form I-129.
- Copy of the I-797 Notice of Action.
- Evidence of exceptional skills and experience synonymous with the O1 visa holder you want to support.
- Passport photograph. It must conform to the US photo requirements.
- Receipts of fee payments.
- Proof of written or oral contract between you and the O1 visa holder.
- Previous contracts with the O1 visa holder.
- Valid passport.
- Proof of intention to return to your home country after the event or performance, such as property ownership, permanent residence, employment contract, or personal business.
- Marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Birth certificate (if applicable).
Attend Your Visa Interview
The visa interview is the final and crucial stage of your application. Your interview date and time will be indicated in your appointment letter. Ensure you get to your Interview Post 15 minutes before your interview due to the security checkpoint and check-in.
Lateness to your interview will result in cancellation. The consular officer will request your documents, so ensure you have all the documents listed above.
The Consular Officer will determine your eligibility through questions and a review of your documents.
What Is the Processing Time for an O2 Visa?
The standard processing time for an O2 visa is between 2 and 3 months. The length of processing time depends on the rate of applications in the Embassy. The processing time may take longer if the Embassy has a high visa application rate.
You can apply for the premium processing service if you do not want to wait that long to get your visa decision. The premium processing service enables you to fast-track your visa processing period to 2 weeks.
The premium processing fee is $1,225.
Note that applying for the premium processing means does not guarantee visa approval. You will only be expediting your application processing.
What If I Want to Change to O2 Visa Status?
You can change your status to the O visa category if you are currently in the United States under a different nonimmigrant status. You must have adhered to the conditions attached to your present status. You do not need to leave the United States before applying for a change of status.
Your prospective US employer must file for a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) while your current visa is valid. The petition must indicate a change of nonimmigrant status.
If your petition is approved, you must leave the country and go through the visa application process to get an O status.
Can I Extend my Stay?
You can request a stay extension. Your employer must file a new petition for your extension (Form I-129) before your visa expires.
You can get an extension for up to one year. You also get an additional ten days after the expiry date of your visa.
You have no limitation to the number of extensions you can apply for as long as it is to continue or complete the event that brought you to the United States.
What Is the Validity Period of an O2 visa?
The validity period of an O2 visa is up to three years. The validity period starts on the visa approval date.
You can enter the United States ten days before your actual visa validity date. You can also stay in the country for up to ten days after your visa expires.
Can I Travel with My Family Members?
You can travel with your dependent family members. Your spouse and children (of single marital status) under 21 years old qualify as dependents.
How Can Total Law Help?
Total Law is a team of experienced immigration lawyers with knowledge and expertise in United States immigration law, Green Card, and all the Immigrant and Nonimmigrant visa routes.
You can rely on our experience for specific information and advice during your application process. We offer services that can ease the process of filing a petition, developing your contract, contacting a certified labor organization, and applying for an O2 visa.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
The O1 visa is for persons with extraordinary ability and knowledge in art, athletics, science, education, or business. The O2 visa is for persons who provide essential support services to O1 visa holders in the athletics, television production, and motion picture industry.