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What is an O-2 to Do?

An O-2 visa is available to those individuals who are essential to the O-1 visa artist or athlete’s performance. The case should include proof of the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience of the O-2 beneficiary with the O-1 principal. Additionally, the case should also establish that the O-2 has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1 principal.

In the case of motion picture or television productions, the evidence should establish that a production has taken place outside of the US and will take place inside the US, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.

To avoid any delays or issues, an O-2 petition should be filed with the Principal O-1 Visa. Also, the petitioner may not file the Form I-129 more than one year before the O-1 will begin employment. The typical case will include Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, a Statement of Essentiality for the O-2 beneficiary from the O-1 Principal, proof that the O-2 has worked with the O-1 in the past, the petitioner letter, agreement, and itinerary with support for the scheduled performances. Lastly, a Consultation Letter is also required for all O-2 beneficiaries.

If the O-2 petition is for a beneficiary involved with athletics or the arts, the consultation must be from the appropriate labor organization. If the O-2 petition is in support of an individual involved in the motion picture or television industry, the consultation must come from an appropriate labor organization and a management organization with expertise in the skill area involved. If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist, then USCIS may waive the consultation requirement and make a decision based on the evidence provided.

So who can serve as an O-2? It depends on who the artist or athletes needs to perform. It may be coaches, trainers, dancers, managers, or backup singers – the list is infinite.

As always, consult an experienced immigration attorney in the area to see if you qualify for this classification.

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