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What is an O-2 visa and how can one qualify?

An artist painting

The O-2 visa allows essential supporting personnel who works with an O-1 artist or athlete to come to the U.S. to work alongside the O-1B artist or O-1A athlete in their projects. A representative example is an accompanying pianist who will work for a singer on an O-1B visa. The O-2 visa could be a great way for emerging artists to come to the U.S. to further develop their career while supporting the work of a more experienced or well-known artist.

The following requirements must be met to qualify for the O-2 visa:

  • The applicant’s work is an integral part of the O-1 artists’ or athlete’s performance or events.
  • The applicant possesses critical skills or experiences with the O-1 artist or athlete that are not of a general nature and cannot be performed by others;
  • In the case of motion picture of TV productions, the applicant has a long-standing pre-existing relationship with the O-1B artist, or with a specific production which takes place both inside and outside the US.

It is important to note that O-2 visas for supporting professionals are only available in connection with an O-1B visa holder, an individual with extraordinary ability in the arts or in motion picture or television industry, or a small subset of O-1A visa holders who are athletes. It is not available for supporting professionals for other types of O-1A visa holders, individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, or business.

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