Dependents and Assistants of O-1 Visa Holders
Just like with many other types of visas, certain dependents and/or assistants of O-1 status holders may travel to the United States with them. Traveling with an O-2 or O-3 visa, these nonimmigrants have the same duration of stay as the primary O-1 status holder.
The O-3 status is intended for the spouse or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany an O-1 or O-2 status holder to the United States. They are subject to the same period and limitations as the primary O-1 or O-2 alien. However, these individuals are not allowed to accept employment unless they have been granted an Employment Authorization Document. If the spouse or child is already in the United States on another nonimmigrant classification, they may file a separate change of status application.
The O-3 nonimmigrant status is intended for those who will accompany and assist in the artistic or athletic performance of an O-1 alien. To qualify for O-2 status, the individual must be an “integral part” of the actual performance and have “critical skills and experience” with the O-1 alien which are not of a general nature and which cannot be performed by U.S. workers.
In order to accompany an O-1 artist or athlete of extraordinary ability, an O-2 petitioner must provide evidence of current essentiality, skills and experience along with evidence of prior experience working with the principal O-1 status holder.
In order to accompany an O-1 alien of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, etc., an O-2 petitioner must provide evidence that significant production work has taken place outside the U.S., will continue in the U.S., and that the alien’s continuing participation is critical to the success of the production.
Additionally, the O-2 beneficiary must maintain a foreign residence and assets that he or she has no intention of abandoning. Moreover, consultation with an appropriate peer group that can attest to the O-2 alien’s qualifications and necessity is mandatory before the petition can be approved by the USCIS, just as with an O-1 petition. The only exception to this requirement would be if the petitioner can demonstrate that an appropriate peer group does not exist, in which case the decision will be based on the remaining available evidence. Finally, the petitioning employer must file an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS for the O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 visa at least 45 days before the start date of employment. This cannot be done more than one year in advance of when the O-1 nonimmigrant will begin employment.
At Buda Law Group, we have a team of experienced professionals who will help you build the strongest O-1, O-2 and/or O-3 case possible. We have extensive experience assisting our clients with letters of reference and helping them get professional peer group support. Call or e-mail us today for a consultation and to begin your O status petition!John B. Buda, Esq. www.budalawgroup.net office: 310-452-1872 [email protected] 3301 Ocean Park Blvd. Suite 205 Santa Monica, CA 90405