Did you know that as an O-1 Visa holder, you can have immediate family members or assistants accompany you when you come to the United States? Key assistants to O-1 Visa holders have the opportunity to join them in the U.S. on an O-2 Visa, and family members of O-1 and O-2 Visa holders can obtain an O-3 Visa to stay with their loved ones. Read on to learn how to bring important people in your life and/or people who provide critical support to your career with you to the U.S. when you are here on your O-Visa!
Overview of the O-2 and O-3 Visas
The O-2 and O-3 Visas differ based on who is eligible to obtain each. The O-2 Visa is an option for individuals who are assisting the O-1 artist or athlete for their performance. The O-3 Visa is an option for the spouse and children of both O-1 and and O-2 Visa holders. Each of them require proof of relationship to the O-1 Visa holder, as well as documentation to demonstrate that you are eligible for the particular visa status. Both the O-2 and O-3 Visas last for the same duration as the O-1 Visa and come with several key benefits.
Benefits of O-2 and O-3 Visas
The benefits of becoming an O-2 or O-3 visa holder include:
- Living in the U.S. for the same period of time as the O-1 Visa holder;
- Enter or leave the United States as many times as you wish during the time period;
- Open a bank account and get a driver’s license;
- Pursue career opportunities (O-2 Visa) or educational opportunities (O-3 Visa); and
- Stay with your loved ones during the duration of their O-1 Visa.
Additionally, the O-2 and O-3 Visas are both highly beneficial to the O-1 visa holder. The O-2 Visa allows for key personnel to continue assisting the O-1 Visa holder during their employment in the U.S., and the O-3 Visa allows for family members to be with O-1 and O-2 Visa holders for the duration of the job. Although O-3 Visa holders cannot pursue employment authorization when in the U.S., they still have educational opportunities available.
Eligibility and Evidence
The O-2 and O-3 Visas each have their own requirements for eligibility and for the evidence that needs to be submitted with the application.
For the O-2 Visa, the primary requirement is to demonstrate that you are an “integral part” of the O-1 Visa holder’s performance and that you have a set of skills and experiences that are unique and not easily found by a domestic worker. You must also demonstrate your relationship to the O-1 Visa holder and how you specifically aid the work that they do.
For the O-3 Visa, the primary requirement is that you are the spouse or child (under 21 years of age) of an O-1 or O-2 Visa holder. It’s important to note that O-2 Visa holders can also bring their dependent family members over on the O-3 Visa. You will also need to provide documentation demonstrating this relationship, which can include photos, birth certificates, marriage certificates, joint financial documents, and more. It’s important to discuss your eligibility and the required evidence with your immigration attorney so that you include all the required materials to demonstrate your visa eligibility.
You may also read: Extraordinary Ability Visas: EB-1 v. O-Visa
How to Apply for O-2 and O-3 Visas
The O-2 and O-3 Visas each have slightly different application processes. The O-2 Visa application is similar to the O-1 Visa; it also requires submission of an individual Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. You will need an employer or agent to file this form on your behalf, and you will need to demonstrate your connection to the O-1 Visa holder. Additionally, you will be required to submit basic identification documents as well as material proof to corroborate the connection to the O-1 visa holder you claim. Once USCIS approves the petition, you can apply for your visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Since the O-3 Visa is classified as a dependent visa for the O-1 and O-2 Visas, it does not require the Form I-129 petition. Instead, the O-3 Visa applicant will need to fill out the DS-160 form that all nonimmigrant visa applicants are required to submit, pay the application fee, and schedule the visa interview where you will be asked to present all your supporting documents.