Several specialized programs exist for performers to come to the United States to practice their crafts. Each requires a challenging application showing achievement in the respective fields.
Individuals who possess extraordinary ability in a field of arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics are eligible for O-1 visas. This standard permits those aliens whose qualifying employment is in a field in which they can demonstrate exceptional talent may apply for this flexible and demanding category of visa. While extraordinary ability in the sciences and education is often reserved for researchers and physicians, O-1 visas are available for extraordinary ability in all fields of arts, including actors and musicians, as well as in sports. A successful application requires sponsorship by an employer or agent along with demonstration that the candidate has a highly distinguished body of past work.
Athletes and performing artists who do not meet the O-1 extraordinary ability standard may instead qualify for shorter term P-1 or P-3 visas to participate in athletic competitions or performances. These visas permit internationally renowned or culturally specific individuals and groups the opportunity to exhibit their skills and share their culture within the United States.
Performers who do not qualify for either of the above two programs may still be eligible to come to the United States to perform under the H-2B temporary worker program. In lieu of extraordinary achievement, the petitioning employer or agent must be able to show that it attempted, but failed, to fill the position with a qualified U.S. worker.
Greenberg Visa Law has many successes classifying individuals for O-1, P, and H-2B visas throughout a diverse range of fields in the arts and encourages candidates, employers or agents to contact an attorney for a review of their qualifications.