California Work Visa Attorney: O-1 Visa Holder Support Personnel Need O-2 Work Visas

Even people with the most extraordinary abilities and talents don’t go it alone. In many cases, internationally known athletes, entertainers, motion picture professionals, and television producers can’t achieve greatness without help. For this reason, the United States federal government and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has created a special visa for the vital support personnel of those with extraordinary ability. 

Known as the O-2 visa, this visa is meant especially for essential helpers of the O-1 visa holder—such as coaches, makeup artists, and technicians. These support people must have a longstanding relationship with the O-1 visa holder, as well as specific and critical skills. 

What are the general requirements of the O-2 visa for support personnel? 

To secure an O-2 visa, you must prove that no one else can hold your job and that you are essential to the success of the O-1 visa holder. You must also prove a prior working relationship with the O-1 visa holder and a contract between you and the person with the extraordinary ability.

You must also prove that your work in the United States is temporary and that you have a life in a foreign country that you do not plan to abandon. In addition, you must state that you will only work for the O-1 visa holder. 

What privileges come with an O-2 visa? 

With an O-2 visa, you may travel freely within and out of the United States. Your spouse and dependent children may apply for an O-3 visa. You may also engage in part-time study on an O-2 visa if you wish. Your visa is valid for up to three years—or as long as the O-1 visa holder will be in the United States (with one year extensions). 

Can anyone with an O-1 visa bring along essential support personnel? 

No. Only certain types of entertainers, athletes, and those in the movie/television industry may have support personnel apply for O-2 visas. You may not have O-2 visa applicants if your extraordinary ability is in science, research, business, or education. 

Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney