O-1 Visa Support Personnel: O-2 Visa Category and Evidentiary Requirements

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O-2 Visa Category

Introduction 

O-1 visas provide opportunities for individuals with extraordinary abilities to come to the US. These individuals may not be alone and require assistance from trainers, support staff, or assistants. Keeping this in mind, the US has O-2 visas, which the support personnel can apply to support the O-1 visa holders. This article will talk about O-2 visa Category. 

O-2 Visa Category

An O-2 nonimmigrant visa is for individuals who accompany the artists or the athletes with an O-1 visa. An O-1 visa is granted to the individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the field of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics or to those who have demonstrated a track record of outstanding performance in the motion picture or television industries or have gained recognition nationally or internationally for their accomplishments.

The term ‘beneficiary’ in this article is used for the person granted the O-2 visa, i.e., the person accompanying the holder of the O-1 visa to assist in the events or activities. The holder of an O-2 visa cannot work independently or change the employer from the O-1 beneficiary they are supporting. Multiple beneficiaries may be included in a single O-2 visa petition under Form I-129.

The family members of an O-2 visa holder are eligible to apply for an O-3 visa—the term ‘family members’ includes spouse and unmarried children under 21, including the adopted children. 

What are the qualification criteria for an O-2 Visa?

Individuals coming to the US on an O-2 visa have to fulfill certain criteria to be eligible for the visa. These are: 

  • The beneficiary must be an integral part of the performance of the O-1 visa holder, and their skills and experience must be critical and cannot be performed by a US worker.  
  • In case of assisting a holder of an O-1B visa, i.e., an individual with tremendous talent in the arts or incredible success in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must, in addition to the above requirements, be able to prove that the skills and experiences are based on pre-existing long-standing work relationships.
  • In the case of a specific product, it must show that significant production will take place both inside and outside the US, and continuing participation of the beneficiary is essential for the successful completion of the production.

What are the key pieces of evidence that can be submitted for an O-2 visa?

A petition for an O-2 visa may include the following pieces of evidence:

  • Evidence specific to the qualification of O-2 visa sought such as affidavits, contracts, or other documents proving the achievements of the beneficiary executed by the officer or any other person responsible for the employment on behalf of the institution, firm, organization, or establishment.
  • Copy of written contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of terms of the oral agreement accepted by both the parties.
  • Written advisory opinions from the appropriate consulting entity or entities.
  • An explanation of the nature of events or activities, the duration of the events or activities, and a copy of the itinerary.
  • Documents proving the beneficiary’s expertise and how such information is acquired by the affiant (the one writing the affidavit).
  • Documentary evidence of the consultation in the form of an advisory from the labor organization.

Application Process of an O-2 visa

The employer should file Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) along with the documents mentioned in the form instruction at least 45 days prior to the date of employment to avoid any delays. After the USCIS approves the petition, the applicant can apply for a visa at a US embassy. If the application is approved, the petitioner would be notified using Form I-797 (Notice of Action) by the USCIS, and they can come to the United States to support the O-1 visa holders. 

What is the period of stay on an O-2 Visa?

As an O-2 visa holder, the beneficiary will be allowed to stay in the US for up to three years plus ten days before and after the validity of your visa. 

Can I extend my O-2 visa?

Yes, the O-2 visa beneficiaries can apply for extensions. Extensions are generally provided for up to one year; however, it will depend on the time required to complete the initial event or activity. To extend the stay of the O-2 visa holder, the employer must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) along with a copy of Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) and a statement explaining the reasons for an extension. To extend the stay of the family members of O-2 visa holders in the US, the beneficiary must file form I-539 (Application to Extend/ Change).

Revocation

The power of revocation lies with the USCIS. Your O-2 petition can be denied on any grounds such as: 

  • Termination of employment on which your original O-2 petition is based
  • The O-1 visa holder no longer requires your services as support personnel 
  • If false and incorrect facts are found to be stated in the petition, USCIS will likely deny your O-2 visa. 
  • Violation of terms and conditions provided in the petition by the petitioner
  • Violation of any statute or regulations by the petitioner
  • Violation of the rules or gross error found in the approval of the petition.

It is highly recommended to consult an experienced immigration attorney if you have concerns about the revocation of your petition. 

I wanted to work for more than one employer on an O-2 visa. Can I do that? 

Yes, the beneficiaries under an O-2 visa are allowed to work for more than one employer. In such a case, each employer has to file individual petitions for the beneficiary. 

Conclusion 

We hope that this article has cleared your doubts regarding an O-2 visa. If you still have any queries about O-2 visas or your visa case application, just drop a message to us. Our immensely qualified immigration attorneys will be delighted to help you.

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