Visa for actors and musicians

As Elton John Criticizes Access to Europe for Artists, What are the Rules for USA?

Sir Elton John has criticized the UK government for not doing enough to help musicians wanting to tour Europe in the aftermath of Brexit. John claimed artists were being figuratively (and sometimes literally) “stranded at Dover”, the name of the English town that acts as a gateway to Europe. As the issue remains unresolved, we explore the options for artists seeking to work and/or live in the United States.

Temporary Access to the US for Artists?

The US immigration options for artists depends upon whether they are seeking temporary or permanent admission to the United States. For temporary admission, the most appropriate visa is likely to be the O1B Visa for musicians, actors, and other professionals in the arts, TV or motion pictures industries (the O1A visa, by contrast, is for those with extraordinary ability in science, education, business or athletics). Applicants must have a job offer in the United States, and should – usually – meet several of the following requirements:

  • The applicant has taken a leading role in a production
  • The applicant has garnered coverage in the media or other publications
  • The applicant has been involved in a commercially successful project
  • The applicant has garnered review for their work from critics
  • The applicant has earned a high salary for their work

Your attorney will build your case based upon your career experience. Artists who are in receipt of a prestigious award are automatically eligible for the O1B visa. Support staff, such as choreographers, editors, set designers, animators, makeup artists, etc, may be eligible for an O2 Visa, provided they are there to assist the O1 visa candidate for the specific job. Spouses and children can also accompany a successful O1B visa applicant to the United States on an O3 Visa.

Permanent Residency for Artists

The O1 Visa is tied to specific jobs and limited to an initial three years – which can then be renewed in increments of one year. But what if an artist wished to stay in the United States longer? In such instances, they may wish to consider applying for US permanent residency, also known as a Green Card.

The optimal permanent residency pathway for those in the arts is likely to be the EB1A Visa. This is the first-preference employment-based immigrant visa category and is for anyone who is able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics “through sustained national or international acclaim”.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services have ten criteria for EB1A eligibility and a prospective applicant must meet at least three. This includes, media coverage, exhibitions of their work, evidence of commercial success, high earnings, participation in judging panels, and being the recipient of an award. Find the full list of EB1A criteria here.

The good news is O1 is a “Dual Intent” visa. Usually visa applicants seeking temporary admission to the United States are expected to prove they intend to depart the country after their visa expires. However, O-1 Visa holders are permitted to actively seek a Green Card during their stay in the United States. This means an applicant might start working in the United States temporarily under the O1 visa and apply for an “Adjustment of Status” to a Green Card under EB1A without being required to return to their country of origin.

The EB1A visa is not the only pathway to permanent residency and the applicant should discuss their goals and circumstances with an attorney who can present a range of options and discuss their various merits. Contact our team to discuss.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Immigration in Food Industry

O-1 Talent Visa Petition Approved for Chef of Michelin-Guide Recommended Italian Restaurant in NYC

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney, Davies & Associates

I am delighted to announce that my team has secured the approval of an O-1 Petition for an Italian Executive Chef.

The Petitioner is an award-winning and Michelin Guide-recommended authentic Tuscan Italian restaurant in New York City. The restaurant is one of the most highly rated and recommended Italian restaurants in the city, which happens to be one of the most competitive gastronomy markets in the world. It has achieved one of the highest distinctions in the international gastronomy industry: a Michelin Guide Recommendation as a top restaurant in New York City.

The Beneficiary will be working as the Executive Chef. He is a Top Chef and Culinary Artist who has worked in a leading and critical role for some of the most prestigious restaurants in the culinary world in the Italian cuisine industry.

The O-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for people with exceptional talent in the fields of business, arts, entertainment, sciences, education and more. The chef received an O-1B Visa for people with extraordinary ability in the arts.

My team also welcome another L-1A Visa approval for an Executive from India. The new office petition was approved with no RFE (Request for Evidence). 

The beneficiary works for a company in India which specializes in providing medical transcription services, medical scribing services, medical billing services, and IT-enabled services. It offers a variety of related services with the goal of enhancing its clients’ operations by minimizing  avoidable losses and expenses, as well as increasing revenues.

It primarily offers its services to clients in the United States. Consequently, it has established and grown a strong client base in this country. The company offers its services to healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, private medical practices and clinics, and physicians within the United States. The company furnishes medical practice supporting services that include remote realtime medical scribing, medical transcription, and revenue cycle management solutions. By offering a full range of professional medical services,  it has excelled in helping healthcare institutions and companies focus on minimizing preventable expenses and substantively improving their revenue as a result. Now, that they have established presence in the US, they aim to reach more customers and provide better services.

The L-1A Visa is a non-immigrant option for managers and executives to relocate to the existing or newly established US branch of their overseas company. The visa is valid for up to seven years, after which time it is possible to transition to a Green Card under the EB-1C Visa.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.