Other Nonimmigrant Visas
A & G Visa
The A visa category is for diplomats (A-1 visa), government officials (A-2 visa) and their assistants (A-3 visa) to travel to the United States on behalf of their national government solely for their government’s official activities. The A visa must be obtained prior to their entry into U.S.A. The family of diplomats, government officials, and assistants can also come under their respective visa categories.
Diplomats, government officials, and employees who will work for international organizations in the United States need G visas. Similarly, officials and employees of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who will work for NATO in the United States need NATO visas.
The International Organization (G visa) and NATO visas are issued to diplomats and other government officials for travel to the United States. The purpose of the intended travel to the U.S. must be pursuant to official duties. It is usually issued to permanent mission members of a recognized government to a designated international organization (G-1 visa); representatives of a recognized government traveling to the U.S. temporarily to attend meetings of a designated international organization (G-2 visa); representative of non-recognized or non-member governments (G-3 visas); and individuals who are proceeding to the U.S. to take up an appointment at a designated international organization, including the United Nations (G-4 visa).
Under immigration law, for NATO visas, the applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for an Employee of NATO. The applicant is classified under the symbol NATO-1 through NATO-6 if they are seeking admission to the U.S. under the applicable provision of the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty. This includes national representatives, international staff and immediate family members of an individual classified NATO-1 through NATO-6. U.S. visa law indicates that if a visa applicant is entitled to a NATO visa as a principal or dependent, he or she must receive a NATO visa. The exceptions to this rule are extremely limited. However, many armed forces personnel are exempt from passport and visa requirements if they are either attached to NATO Allied Headquarters in the U.S. and are traveling on official business or are entering the U.S. under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement. When traveling in exempt status, such personnel would generally be entering the U.S. by military aircraft or naval vessel. The official entering the U.S. without a visa under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement or the Protocol on the Status of International Military Headquarters set up pursuant to the North Atlantic Treaty, must carry official military ID cards and NATO travel orders.
Family members accompanying or following to join a military member on NATO travel orders, the spouse and children should apply for NATO-2 visas. If accompanying a G visa holder spouse on travel, the spouse and children must apply for the same classification of G visa.
Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants of individuals, who hold a valid G-1 through G-4, or NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa, may be issued a G-5 or a NATO-7 visa, if they meet the requirements.
Personal employees, attendants and servants of G and NATO visa holders (G-5 and NATO-7 visa holders), are required to attend interview at U.S. consulate. Besides, proof that the applicant will receive a fair wage, sufficient to financially support himself/herself, comparable to that being offered in the area of employment in the U.S. is required. In addition, the applicant needs to demonstrate that he/she will perform the contracted employment duties.
Personal employees, attendants, domestic workers, or servants must have an employment contract signed by both the employer and the employee. The contract must be in English and also in a language understood by the employee to ensure the employee understands his or her duties and rights regarding salary and working conditions. A guarantee that the employee will be compensated at the state or federal minimum or prevailing wage, whichever is greater besides a statement by the employee, promising not to accept any other employment while working for the employer is required. Also, a statement by the employer, promising to not withhold the passport of the employee and a statement indicating that both parties understand that the employee cannot be required to remain on the premises after working hours without compensation is also required. The employer must pay the domestic’s initial travel expenses to the U.S., and subsequently to the employer’s onward assignment, or to the employee’s country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment. In addition, the employer must demonstrate that he or she will have sufficient funds to provide a fair wage and working conditions, as reflected in the contract. Consideration is also given to the number of employees an employer would reasonably be able to pay. There is no requirement that employers and personal employees/domestic workers surrender their contract and/or passport to their employer.
The C visa category is for a citizen of a foreign country traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the United States in route to a foreign destination except travelers under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or travelers who are nationals of a country which has an agreement with the U.S. allowing their citizens to travel to the U.S. without visas. If the traveler is a passenger embarking at a foreign port on a cruise ship or other vessel proceeding to a foreign destination other than the U.S., and during the course of the journey, the vessel makes port in the U.S. with no intention of landing in the U.S., a transit visa or other nonimmigrant visa is required.
A traveler seeking layover privileges for purposes other than for transit through the U.S., such as to visit friends or for sightseeing will have to qualify for the type of visa required for that purpose, such as a B-2 visa. A crewperson traveling to the U.S. as a passenger to join a ship or aircraft would require a transit visa.
A foreign traveler proceeding in transit through the U.S. to or from the United Nations Headquarters District, under provisions of the Headquarters agreement with the United Nations, would require a diplomatic transit (C-2) visa and have certain restrictions on travel within the U.S.
The D visa category is for a crew member serving on board a sea vessel or aircraft in the United States. Crew member applicants must provide services that are required for normal operation on board a sea vessel or aircraft (for example, a lifeguard or beautician on board a luxury liner or a flight attendant on a commercial airplane). Applicants do not have to be employed when they apply for D visa, as long as they are employed on the sea vessel or aircraft on which they arrive in the U.S. They may be also a trainee on board a training vessel. The crewmember must intend to depart from the U.S. on the same vessel or any other vessel within 29 days. Under immigration law, neither the vessel nor the crewmember has “departed” if the vessel travels to international waters but has not cleared or entered a foreign port.
The E visa category workers, treaty traders and investors come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national.
E1 visa is for treaty traders who carry on substantial trade in goods including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals.
E2 visa is for treaty investors who direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money.
The media (I) visa category is for representatives (including members of the press, radio, film or print industries, whose activities are essential to the foreign media function, such as reporters, film crews, editors and persons in similar to engage in their profession) of the foreign media temporarily traveling to the United States to engage in their profession while having their home office in a foreign country. Procedures for providing media visas to foreign media representatives of a particular country, depends on whether the visa applicant’s own government grants similar privileges or is reciprocal, to representatives of the media or press from the United States.
The applicant must be engaging in qualifying activities for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. The activity must be essentially informational, and generally associated with the news gathering process, reporting on actual current events like reporting on sports events, engaging in filming a news event or documentary, etc., to be eligible for the media visa.
Citizens from a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), who want to enter the United States temporarily, as representatives of the foreign media traveling to the United States, engaging in their profession as media or journalists, must first obtain a media visa to come to the U.S. They cannot travel without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program, nor can they travel on a visitor (B) visa. If they attempt to do so, they may be denied admission to the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBP, or by a U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry.
The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry (O1-A visa)); or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry (O1-B visa), and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
O-2 visas are for individuals who accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker should have critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.
O-3 visas are for individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s
For issuance of an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages that has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.
The O-1A beneficiary must submit evidence that he or she has received a major, internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
- Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought
- A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation
The petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation.
The O-1B beneficiary must submit evidence that he or she has received, or been nominated for, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field, such as an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy or Director’s Guild Award, or evidence of at least (3) three of the following:
- Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements.
- Achieved national or international recognition for achievements, as shown by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the beneficiary in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications.
- Performed and will perform in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials.
- A record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes, as shown by such indicators as title, rating or standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications.
- Received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field in which the beneficiary is engaged, with the testimonials clearly indicating the author’s authority, expertise and knowledge of the beneficiary’s achievements.
- A high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as shown by contracts or other reliable evidence
The petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility if the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation in the arts (exception: does not apply to the motion picture or television industry).
The beneficiary for an O-2 visa should submit evidence which establish the current essentiality, critical skills, and experience with the O-1 beneficiary and that the beneficiary has substantial experience performing the critical skills and essential support services for the O-1. In the case of a specific motion picture or television production, the evidence should establish that significant production has taken place outside the United States and will take place inside the United States, and that the continuing participation of the O-2 beneficiary is essential to the successful completion of the production.
Once the visa petition is approved for O-1/O-2 by USCIS, the beneficiary can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa. As an O nonimmigrant, the beneficiary may be admitted to the United States for the validity period of the petition, plus a period of up to 10 days before the validity period begins and 10 days after the validity period ends. The beneficiary may only engage in authorized employment during the validity period of the petition.
Family members of O-1/O-2 visa holders like spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for an O-3 nonimmigrant visa, subject to the same period of admission and limitations as the O-1/O-2 nonimmigrant. They may not work in the United States, but they may engage in full or part time study on an O-3 visa.
When professional athletes with O-1 non-immigrant status are traded from one team to another, employment authorization will continue with the new team for 30 days. The new employer must file a new Form I-129. The simple act of filing the Form I-129, within this 30-day period, extends the employment authorization at least until the petition is adjudicated. If the new employer does not file a new Form I-129 within 30 days of the trade, the athlete loses his or her employment authorization. The athlete also loses his or her employment authorization if the new Form I-129 is denied.
The employer must pay for the reasonable cost of return transportation to the O non-immigrant’s last place of residence before entering into the United States, if the employment of an O non-immigrant beneficiary is terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation. If an agent filed the petition for the employer, the agent and the employer are equally responsible for paying these costs.
There are three types of P visas. The P-1 visa classification is primarily for artists, athletes, and entertainers. It applies to an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States (1) to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance, or (2) to perform with, or as an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as being outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time, and who has had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group (ordinarily for at least 1 year) and provides functions integral to the performance of the group.
The P-2 classification applies to an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform as an artist or entertainer, individually or as part of a group, or to perform as an integral part of the performance of such a group, and who seeks to perform under a reciprocal exchange program which is between an organization or organizations in the United States and an organization or organizations in one or more foreign states, and which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers, or groups of artists and entertainers.
The P-3 classification applies to an alien artist or entertainer who is coming temporarily to the United States, either individually or as part of a group, or as an integral part of the performance of the group, to perform, teach, or coach under a commercial or noncommercial program that is culturally unique.
Family members like spouse or children (under 21) accompanying or following to join P-1/P-2/P-3 visa holder are entitled for P-4 visa.
The Q non-immigrant visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS. The classification is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of their home country with the United States. It is an employment-oriented program, but an integral part of their duties must have a cultural element. Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q non-immigrants.
The worker must be at least 18 years old and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of his or her country. The employer must submit evidence that the employer maintains an established international cultural exchange program which may be demonstrated by submitting copies of catalogs, brochures or other types of material which illustrate that the cultural component of the program is designed to give an overview of the attitude, customs, history, heritage, philosophy, tradition and/or other cultural attributes of the participant’s home country. The employer may also submit evidence which illustrates that the program activities take place in a public setting where the sharing of culture can be achieved through direct interaction with the American public or a segment thereof. In addition, the employer must establish that: (1) it has designated a qualified employee to administer the program and serve as liaison with USCIS, (2) it will offer the alien wages and working conditions comparable to those accorded local workers similarly employed, and (3) it has the financial ability to compensate the participant(s), as shown by a copy of the employer’s most recent annual report, business income tax return or other form of certified accountant’s report. The worker after completing the Q cultural exchange program must depart United States within 30 days. The worker is also required to spend one year outside the United States before he or she can apply for participation in the Q cultural exchange program again. The Q visa classification does not have a provision for any spouse or children to accompany or follow to join a Q-1 non-immigrant. Therefore, any spouse or children must qualify for a visa classification for which they may be eligible.
The S visa classification is for an individual who has assisted a law enforcement agency as a witness or informant. A law enforcement agency may submit an application for permanent residence (a green card) using Form I-854, Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record, on behalf of a witness or informant when the individual has completed the terms and conditions of his or her S classification. Evidence that the witness or informant has fulfilled his or her obligations as an S non-immigrant and provided information about all potential grounds of inadmissibility must be included with the completed and signed Form I-854 application. Failure to disclose all grounds of inadmissibility may result in the witness or informant being removed (deported) from the United States. Only a federal or state law enforcement agency or a U.S. Attorney’s office may submit a request for permanent residence as an S non-immigrant on behalf of a witness or informant. The requesting agency must also be the same agency that initially requested S non-immigrant status on behalf of the individual. Qualifying family members of the principal S non-immigrant may also be eligible to apply for a green card.
The T visa classification is for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking. It protects victims of human trafficking and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. To be eligible for a T visa, the individual is or were a victim of trafficking, as defined by law and is in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port of entry due to trafficking. The victim should comply with any reasonable request from a law enforcement agency for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking (or are under the age of 18 or are unable to cooperate due to physical or psychological trauma). Besides demonstrating that victim would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if he or she were removed from the United States, victim should show that he or she is admissible to the United States. If not admissible, victim may apply for a waiver on Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-immigrant.
Victims should also try to submit Form I-914, Supplement B, Declaration of Law Enforcement Officer for Victim of Trafficking in Person, to show law enforcement agency support. Form I-914, Supplement B serves as primary evidence that the non-immigrant was a victim of trafficking and has complied with reasonable requests from law enforcement.
Victim is also eligible to apply for a green card as a T-1 nonimmigrant (principal). For applying green card, the victim must have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of at least 3 years since the first date of admission as a T-1 nonimmigrant, a continuous period during the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking, and the Attorney General has determined the investigation or prosecution is complete, whichever period of time is less. The victim also must have been a person of good moral character since first being admitted as a T-1 nonimmigrant and until the decision is made on the Form I-485, Adjustment of Status application. Further, the victim should have complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking since first being admitted as a T-1 nonimmigrant and until a decision is made on the Form I-485. Victim should also show that he or she would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States besides showing that he or she is admissible to the United States as a permanent resident.
The U visa classification is set aside for victims of crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse as a result and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation of the criminal activity.
To petition for U non-immigrant status, Form I-918 must be submitted by the victim or someone petitioning on the victim’s behalf. A federal, state or local government official investigating a qualifying criminal activity can certify that the victim has been, is being, or will likely be helpful in the prosecution of the criminal act(s) of which he or she was a victim using Form I-918, Supplement B. A petition may also be submitted for eligible family members to obtain U nonimmigrant status using Form I-929. The U visa holder may file Form I-485 for permanent residency upon meeting certain requirements.
A & G Visa
Embassies and consulates generally do not require an interview for those applying for A1 and A2 visas. However, a consular officer can request an interview. Note that personal employees, attendants and servants of A visa holders, that is, applicants for A3 visas are required to be interviewed.
Yes. Section 13 of the INA allows it. You must show that you entered the United States as an A-1 or A-2; duties were diplomatic or semi-diplomatic in nature; there is a compelling reason why you or your immediate family cannot return to the country which accredited you as a diplomat; you are a person of good moral character; you are admissible to the United States for permanent residence; and granting you a green card would be in the national interest of the United States. While applying for adjustment of status, you must submit Form I-566 (Interagency Record of Request) and Form I-508 (Waiver of Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities).
Immediate family members are defined as the spouse and unmarried sons and daughters of any age who are members of the principal applicant’s household, even if they are studying in another location. They also include close relatives of the principal applicant or spouse related by blood, marriage or adoption and are not members of some other household, will reside regularly in the household of the principal applicant and are recognized as dependents by the sending Government.
No, if a relative is not a member of the principal applicant’s household, then they do not meet the definition of “immediate family” member. This is true, even if for example, a niece/nephew will reside with the principal applicant in the U.S. in order to attend school. In such cases, she/he must seek the appropriate visa for the purpose of their travel.
The fact that your relative has been, even in the recent past, a member of some other household does not preclude him or her from being considered a member of your household. You must be able to show that you are financially responsible for the new family member. The relative must show that they are joining your household out of necessity, rather than convenience.
Children who have completed a full and final adoption by the principal applicant are considered immediate family members. Your son is an immediate relative, even though he or she is absent from the household for part of the year while attending boarding school or college.
Only heads of state or government qualify for A visas regardless of the purpose of their visit. Visa classification for others is determined by the purpose of their travel. If traveling as a tourist, you will need a B visa or if eligible, you may travel visa free under the Visa waiver Program.
If you are traveling to the United States as an official representative of your government, you require a diplomatic visa.
Diplomatic visa (A visa) status only pertains to officials traveling to the United States on behalf of their national government. Local government officials traveling on behalf of their state, province, borough or other local entity do not qualify for A visas.
If you are from a non-NATO country and the military education or training you are to receive is being provided at a U.S. military facility (service academy, fort, base, other military installation), you may qualify for an A visa regardless of the duration of the training. If the military training you are to receive is U.S. Government-sponsored or licensed but is not provided at a U.S. military facility, you may qualify for an A visa only if the period of training is less than 90 days. Note: NATO military personnel qualify for NATO visas. If you are a member of a national law enforcement or police agency coming to the U.S. on behalf of the national government for an official purpose (for example, to interview witnesses or in connection with an investigation), or coming for U.S. Government-sponsored training in connection with your official duties, you may qualify for an A visa.
If you are being sent by your government to a meeting or conference which is sponsored by an international organization, you will generally require a G visa, unless your visit will also include other official activities, such as bilateral meetings in Washington D.C. with U.S. Government officials, which would require an A visa. Additionally, a head of state, head of government, cabinet member, presiding officer of a national legislative body, or member of the highest judicial tribunal qualifies for A visa classification to represent his/her government at international meetings or conferences which is sponsored by an international organization.
If you have been nominated by a member government of the IMF/WB to attend the course, you are eligible for a G visa. When applying for the visa, you are required to furnish the letter of acceptance from the IMF/WB. The request for the visa must be made or supported by the nominating foreign government. Attendees who are not nominated by a member government require B visas.
Dependents of A-1, A-2, G-1, G-3, G-4 and NATO1-6 visa holders may be eligible to work in the United States on derivative A, G or NATO visas. An application for employment must be made on the form I-566 to the Department of State’s Office of Protocol through the office, mission, or organization, which employs the principal alien. If the Department’s recommendation is favorable, the form I-566 will be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for action. If the application is approved, USCIS will transmit the employment authorization to the mission, or international organization. In the case of NATO dependents, USCIS employment authorization will be transmitted to NATO/HQ SACT.
No. You must depart the US on or before the I-94 expires.
No, you must depart the US on or before the I-94 expires. Usually, you must depart U.S. on a vessel within 29 days. You are not considered to have departed the U.S. until the vessel you are on travels to international waters destined to a foreign port.
Yes and that too persons with treaty country’s nationality must own at least 50% of the enterprise.
Yes but if it is a business, at least 50% of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty county’s nationality.
Yes. Your employer should file Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, before the date your I-94 expires. For your spouse, use Form I-539. File I-129 and I-539 together so that they may be adjudicated at the same time.
Media (I) visas are for representatives of the foreign media, including members of the press, radio, film, and print industries, traveling temporarily to the United States to work in their profession engaged in informational or educational media activities, essential to the foreign media function.
Activities in the United States while on a media (I) visa must be for a media organization having its home office in a foreign country. Activities in the United States must be informational in nature and generally associated with the news gathering process and reporting on current events.
Representatives of the foreign media who will work in their profession as media or journalists while in the United States cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or on visitor (B) visas.
Yes, they can without applying for F-1 non-immigrant student visa.
The O-1 non-immigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
O-1A is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry).
O-1B is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry.
O-2 is for individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
O-3 visa is for individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s.
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent is renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
The beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.
The petitioner must submit Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, and the documentary evidence like Consultation (a written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the beneficiary’s area of ability), Contract between petitioner and beneficiary, and Itineraries.
If the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, do not exist the decision will be based on the evidence of record. A consultation may be waived for an alien with extraordinary ability in the field of arts if the alien seeks readmission to perform similar services within 2 years of the date of a previous consultation. Petitioners should submit a waiver request and a copy of the previous consultation with the petition.
Usually, USCIS requires a written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed. Oral contract evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the contractual parties, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence which demonstrates that an oral agreement was created. The summary of the terms of the oral agreement must contain what was offered by the employer and what was accepted by the employee and does not have to be signed by both parties to establish the oral agreement. However, it must document the terms of the employment offered and that the beneficiary has agreed to the offer.
An explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, if applicable. The petitioner must establish that there are events or activities in the beneficiary’s field of extraordinary ability for the validity period requested, e.g. an itinerary for a tour or a series of events.
The U.S. Agent may be the actual employer of the beneficiary, the representative of both the employer and the beneficiary, or a person or entity authorized by the employer to act for, or in place of, the employer as its agent.
I-129 filed by an agent performing the function of an employer must include the contractual agreement between the agent and the beneficiary which specifies the wage offered and other terms and conditions of employment. This can be a summary of the terms of the oral agreement or a written contract. A contract is not required between the beneficiary and the entities that will ultimately use the beneficiary’s services. If alien works in more than one location agent must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of work. The itinerary should at a minimum indicate what type of work the beneficiary will be engaged, where, and when this work will take place. A contractual agreement must be provided with the petition to determine whether the agent is functioning as the employer of the beneficiary. It should establish the type of working relationship between the agent and beneficiary and should clearly lay out how the beneficiary will be paid. In totality, if the terms and conditions of employment show a level of control over the beneficiary’s work being relinquished to the agent, then the agent may establish that it is performing the function of an employer. The petition must be submitted with evidence regarding the wage offered. However, the regulations do not contain a prevailing wage requirement. Furthermore, no particular wage structure is required. A detailed description of the wage offered or fee structure and that the wage offered/ fee structure was agreed upon may satisfy this requirement.
You must submit the minimum general documentary evidence such as copies of any written contracts between the foreign employer and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed, an explanation of the nature of the events or activities, the beginning and ending dates for the events or activities, and a copy of any itinerary for the events or activities, and a written advisory opinion from the appropriate consulting entity or entities. The regulations do not require any additional documentary requirements for an agent filing on behalf of a foreign employer. However, it is the foreign employer who is responsible for complying with all applicable employer sanctions provisions.
You may be admitted to the United States for the validity period of the petition, plus a period of up to 10 days before the validity period begins and 10 days after the validity period ends. Your initial period of stay allowed is for three years. For extension of stay, USCIS will determine time necessary to accomplish the initial event or activity in increments of up to 1 year.
Yes. Your new employer must file a Form I-129 with the USCIS.
The petitioner must file an amended petition on Form I-129 with the Service Center where the original petition was filed.
If you are terminated for reasons other than voluntary resignation, the employer must pay for the reasonable cost of your return transportation to your last place of residence before entering into the United States. If an agent filed the petition for the employer, the agent and the employer are equally responsible for paying these costs.
P-1 visa classification provides for admission into the United States of certain athletes, entertainers and artists, and essential support personnel. The P-2 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, involved in a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the United States and one or more foreign countries which provides for the temporary exchange of artists and entertainers. The P-3 visa classification provides for the admission into the United States of an artist or entertainer, either an individual or group, to perform, teach, or coach under a program that is culturally unique.
At least 75 percent of the members of the group must have had a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. The entertainment group must be internationally recognized, having a high level of achievement in a field evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered. The reputation of the group, not the individual achievements of its members or the acclaim of a particular production, is essential.
Individual entertainers not performing as part of a group are not eligible for this visa classification.
Yes. You may enter the United States up to 10 days before your employment is authorized to begin as indicated on your Form I-797 (Notice of Approval). However, you may not work in the United States except during the validity period of the petition.
If the marriage creating the stepchild relationship occurred before the child’s 18th birthday, the child may apply for a derivative visa. Your child’s application materials must include a copy of your marriage certificate establishing the stepchild relationship.
Yes. New employer has to file a new petition.
You must immediately report any change in your employment status to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the area where you are employed.
Your dependents may not engage in employment but may attend school or college.
Yes as long as the new employer files a new petition.
Only a federal or state law enforcement agency or a U.S. Attorney’s office may submit a request for permanent residence as an S non-immigrant on behalf of you. The law enforcement agency may submit an application for permanent residence (a green card) on your behalf when you have completed the terms and conditions of your S visa. The requesting agency must also be the same agency that initially requested your S non-immigrant status.
Qualifying family members of the principal S non-immigrant may also be eligible to apply for a green card.
S non-immigrant must go through a two-step process to apply for a green card. First step is to File Form I-854, Interagency Alien Witness and Informant Record. This form is to be completed by the federal or state law enforcement agency or U.S. Attorney’s Office that initially filed for the S non-immigrant status on behalf of the individual. Evidence that the witness or informant has fulfilled his or her obligations as an S non-immigrant and provided information about all potential grounds of inadmissibility must be included with the completed and signed Form I-854 application. The second step is to file I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status after Form I-854 is approved.
Yes. You may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for advance permission to enter as a non-immigrant.
Helpfulness means the victim was, is, or is likely to be assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity of which he or she is a victim. This includes being helpful and providing assistance when reasonably requested and ongoing responsibility on the part of the victim to be helpful. The duty to remain helpful to law enforcement remains even after a U visa is granted, and those victims who unreasonably refuse to provide assistance after the U visa has been granted may have the visa revoked by USCIS.
It is a certification from the law enforcement agency that essentially states to USCIS that the petitioner was a victim of a qualifying crime; the petitioner has specific knowledge and details of crime; and the petitioner has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of the qualifying crime.
A current investigation, the filing of charges, a prosecution or conviction are not required to sign the law enforcement certification. Many instances may occur where the victim has reported a crime, but an arrest or prosecution cannot take place due to evidentiary or other circumstances. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, when the perpetrator has fled or is otherwise no longer in the jurisdiction, the perpetrator cannot be identified, or the perpetrator has been deported by federal law enforcement officials. There is no statute of limitations on signing the law enforcement certification. A law enforcement certification can even be submitted for a victim in a closed case.
An individual may be eligible for a U visa if:
- He/she is the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
- He/she has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
- He/she has information about the criminal activity. If under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on the individual’s behalf.
- He/she was helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on behalf of the individual.
- The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws
- He/she is admissible to the United States.
Yes. If not admissible, an individual may apply for a waiver on a Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Non-Immigrant.
You can live and work in the United States for no longer than 4 years. You may apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card) after three years of continuous presence in the U.S. while having a U visa. You will have to meet other eligibility requirements for a green card as well, including the ongoing duty to cooperate with law enforcement and not unreasonably refuse to assist with the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying crime. Your immediate family members may also be eligible to live and work in the United States as derivative U visa recipients based on their relationship with the principal recipient.
A federal, state, local law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other authority that has the responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of a qualifying crime or criminal activity is eligible to sign Form I-918B. This includes agencies with criminal investigative jurisdiction in their respective areas of expertise, including but not limited to child and adult protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Federal and State Departments of Labor.
A certifying official(s) can sign Form I-918B. The U visa regulation defines a certifying official as: “[t]he head of the certifying agency, or any person(s) in a supervisory role who has been specifically designated by the head of the certifying agency to issue U non-immigrant status certifications on behalf of that agency.” 8 C.F.R. § 214.14(a)(3).
Individuals currently in removal proceedings or with final orders of removal may still apply for a U visa. Absent special circumstances or aggravating factors, it is against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy to initiate removal proceedings against an individual known to be the immediate victim or witness to a crime. To avoid deterring individuals from reporting crimes, ICE has issued guidance to remind ICE officers, special agents, and attorneys to exercise all appropriate discretion on a case-by-case basis when making detention and enforcement decisions in the cases of victims of crime, witnesses to crime, and individuals pursuing legitimate civil rights complaints. Particular attention should be paid to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, or other serious crimes, and witnesses involved in pending criminal investigations or prosecutions.
Yes. While the crime must have occurred in the United States, its territories, or possessions, or have violated U.S. law, victims do not need to be present in the U.S. in order to be eligible for a U visa and may apply from outside the United States.
There is no requirement that an arrest, prosecution, or conviction occur for someone to be eligible for a U visa. While there is no requirement for the victim to testify at a trial to be eligible for a U visa, if the victim is requested to testify, he or she cannot unreasonably refuse to cooperate with law enforcement. If the victim unreasonably refuses to testify, the law enforcement agency should notify USCIS and may withdraw the previously signed Form I-918B.
Yes. As mentioned above, a conviction is not required for someone to be eligible for a U visa. Plea agreements and dismissals do not negatively impact the victim’s eligibility. As long as the victim has been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity and meets all other eligibility requirements, the victim may petition for a U visa.
A law enforcement certification is valid regardless of whether the initial crime being investigated is different from the crime that is eventually prosecuted. As long as the person is a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, that person may be eligible for a U visa.
In many cases where a child is the victim of a crime, the child may not be able to provide law enforcement with adequate assistance. This may be due to the child’s age or trauma suffered, among various other reasons. Parents of a child victim play a crucial role in detecting and reporting crimes, providing information and assisting law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime committed against the child. Recognizing this, an alien parent can apply to be recognized as an “indirect victim” if the principal victim is a child under 21 years of age and is incompetent or incapacitated to provide assistance to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime committed against the child or if the child is deceased due to murder or manslaughter.
To be eligible for a U visa, the victim of the crime must possess credible and reliable information establishing that the victim has knowledge of the details of the criminal activity or events leading up to the criminal activity, including specific facts about the crime/victimization leading law enforcement to determine that the victim has assisted, is assisting, or is likely to provide assistance in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
USCIS may deny a U visa petition for a variety of reasons including if the victim’s criminal history warrants such a decision. Denials may occur in cases where a victim has multiple arrests, convictions, or has a serious or violent criminal arrest record. USCIS will also deny a petition if the victim was complicit or culpable in the qualifying criminal activity of which he or she claims the victimization occurred. The fact that a victim has a criminal history does not automatically preclude approval of U status. USCIS has broad authority to waive most inadmissibility issues, including criminal issues. Each U visa petition is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.