Comparing O and P Visas to the US
In the US, there are certain types of visas that allow for the entry of exceptionally talented individuals: EB-1, O and P visas. O visas and P visas, both of which are non-immigrant, are used by artists and talented people in fields like the sciences, entertainment, sports, and business in order to enter the US without a permanent work offer. While both the O and P visas are targeted towards artists and/or exceptionally skilled individuals, there are fundamental differences between said visas. While this article will provide a general overview, the experienced attorneys at Sethi & Mazaheri can provide specific, tailored advice for each case.
To qualify for the O visa an individual must excel, or have extraordinary ability, in their respective field. Performers and actors comprise many of the O visa applicants as they are talented artists who often are employed on specific projects or present on a temporary basis. These individuals often do not have employment offers for a full-time, permanent position (however, exceptions do exist). Without a permanent employer or contract, it becomes the responsibility of an agent to sponsor the talented applicant. The most obvious examples of O visa applicants are famous performing artists, athletes, and other foreign celebrities, but individuals outside of the entertainment and athletic world can also qualify. The O visa is granted according to separate criteria for each field. On average, the applicant must prove that their skills and/or talent place them within a small subset of the population and demonstrate their level of distinction.
An individual must excel, or have extraordinary ability, in their respective field for O visa, but P visa is restricted more to those in the arts and athletics.
While exceptionally skilled individuals in almost any field can apply for an O visa, a P visa is restricted more to those in the arts and athletics. Furthermore, those who wish to receive a P visa must prove that they have been internationally renowned for a period of time. Also, a P visa is open to not only foreign individuals, but also groups. Entertainment or sports groups can be granted a P visa for the duration of their time in the US (whether for a competition or performance event). Moreover, if a US-based group has a foreign member, said member can receive a P visa in order to take part in activities with that US-based group.
When deciding to apply for either an O or P visa, it is very important that the applicant receives specific advice so that they are granted the appropriate visa for their professional needs. Contact us at Sethi & Mazaheri in order to receive a free consultation regarding your visa eligibility.