Miami Visa & Immigration Attorney for Artists, Athletes & Entertainers
Legal Guidance for Professionals Working in the U.S.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
FIGUEROA-CONTRERAS LAW GROUP represents talented artists, athletes, musicians and entertainers from around the world who seek to enter the United States to compete or perform on either a temporary (non-immigrant) or permanent (immigrant) basis. The following are the most common options for these clients:
P-1, P-2 and P-3 Visas
The P-1 non-immigrant visa classification is accorded to foreign nationals who belong to an entertainment group that is internationally-recognized in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time. P-1 visas are also available to certain athletes and coaches who can show international recognition.
The P-2 non-immigrant visa classification is reserved for those artists and entertainers who perform individually or in a group, pursuant to a reciprocal exchange program between one of more U.S. organizations and one or more such organizations in another country.
The P-3 non-immigrant classification is accorded to culturally unique artists and entertainers who are coming to the United States to develop, interpret, represent, coach, or teach their particular art or discipline. For the purposes of the P-3 classification, “culturally unique” is broadly defined as a style of artistic expression, methodology, or medium that is unique to a particular country, nation, society, class, ethnicity, religion, tribe, or another group of persons. FIGUEROA-CONTRERAS LAW GROUP has successfully represented many clients in this category, including traditional folk musicians from Mexico, Afro-Brazilian folk dancers, capoeira artists from Brazil, and timba musicians from Cuba.
The O-1 non-immigrant visa classification is widely used by not only by artists, athletes, and entertainers but also by accomplished chefs, business people, scientists and educators. It is a more flexible alternative to the H-1B visa program because there is no cap, no overall time limit, and no wage maintenance requirement.
O-1 visa beneficiaries in the arts and athletics must have extraordinary ability in their field, which is demonstrated by providing extensive documentation of sustained national or international acclaim. Artists and entertainers in the television and motion picture industry must show a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in order to qualify. O-1 visas are also available for professional gamers who have risen to the very top of their field.
For athletes seeking O-1A visas, “extraordinary ability” means a level of expertise indicating that the applicant is one of a very small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
For artists and entertainers (except those affiliated with motion picture and television productions), “extraordinary ability” means distinction, i.e., a high level of achievement in the field of arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered in the field, to the extent that a person is described as renowned, leading or well-known in the artistic field in question. An O-1B visa applicant can meet the standard of distinction by showing that he or she was nominated for, or has received, a significant national or international award or prize (such as an Academy Award, an Emmy or a GRAMMY), or by a combination of three or more specific statutory factors.
Actors, entertainers, directors and other essential technical and creative personnel affiliated with motion picture and television productions seeking O-1B visas must demonstrate that they have attained “extraordinary achievement” by showing that they are outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture or television field.
Foreign nationals may obtain O-2 visas in order to come and assist the O-1 artist or athlete in the United States. The O-1 and O-2 visa beneficiary’s spouse and minor children are accorded to O-3 status and may accompany the O-1 or O-2 visa holder in the United States.
EB-1A Green Card for Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability
Artists and athletes with extraordinary ability are also entitled to seek lawful permanent resident (green card) status in the EB-1A category. The qualifications for this category are similar to those for the O-1 visa. The benefit of this category is that no job offer, labor certification, or employer sponsorship is required – a foreign national can self-petition in this category and does not need an employer. As a result, the EB-1A process is one of the fastest routes to a green card.
Do you have questions about nonimmigrant and immigrant options for artists, athletes or entertainers? Contact our Miami immigration attorney at (305) 501-4141.