The Immigration Act provides many paths for artists, musicians, dancers, and other entertainers to come to the United States for short trips or longer stays, for temporary visas and green cards that lead to citizenship.

What Short-term Visa Options are Available for Artists and Entertainers?

The range of options for artists is broad, and depends both on the experience and ability of the artist or entertainer, what they plan on doing in the United States, and how long they want to stay.

The most common option for Artists and Entertainers are the O and P visas. These visas can be complicated to apply for, but they can also be adjudicated relatively quickly—sometimes in a matter of weeks versus months or years for other types of status. The O Visa is primarily for artists of exceptional ability. The P Visa is for entertainment groups or culturally unique artists. In addition, support personnel may be able to come to assist the principal artist(s).

Both of these visas begin with a petition that may be filed by the artists’ employers, venues, or agents. Once the petition has been approved, the artist will apply for a visa, if abroad, or a change of status in the United States if already here and eligible to change status.

In addition to the O and P Visas, some artists may qualify for other temporary visas like the H-1B or J Visa, or an artist who is coming to visit the United States, but will not perform for remuneration, might be able to obtain visitor status to visit.

Can Artists or Entertainers get Green Cards?

In some circumstances, yes. An artist who wants to come to the United States on tour or for a gig would most likely apply for a temporary, nonimmigrant visa. But some artists, particularly those who are highly qualified, could apply for a green card.

While every case is different, in general, there are three categories in which an artist would apply for a green card. Two of these categories—EB-2 and EB-3—require an employer first to “test” the labor market to ensure that no US qualified workers are available and second to petition for the foreign national worker. The EB-2, in particular, is well suited for an artist of exceptional ability.

The category EB-1 allows an artist of extraordinary ability to self-petition, which means that he or she does not need an employer to first test the market and petition. While the EB-1 artist might have an employer for whom he or she would like to work, this is not a requirement.

What can the Popp Law Office do for me?

In our first consultation, we will discuss your entire immigration history (including past criminal violations) as well as your experience in your chosen field. We will also determine what your short and long-term goals are in your career and in the United States. Through this conversation, we will determine what options are best for you and what you can expect in the immigration process, as well as what costs (including legal fees) you can anticipate. You will leave the first meeting with a roadmap of what you can do and what you need to do to obtain status in the United States.

Why would an immigration firm located in the heart of the Midwest work on visas for Artists and Entertainers?

Bloomington, Indiana is actually a natural fit for such a practice. Bloomington is the home of a top-notch music school, which attracts musicians and dancers from around the world. It has long been attractive to musicians, writers, and other artists. Some famous names you might have heard of that have come from or lived in Bloomington include: director David Anspaugh; jazz musician David Baker; violinist Joshua Bell; singer and songwriter Hoagy Carmichael; musician John Mellencamp; screenwriter Angelo Pizzo; singer David Lee Roth; pianist Gyorgy Sebok; cellist Janos Starker; musician Booker T. Jones; and jazz musician Al Cobine. Bloomington is also home to the longest running world music festival, the Lotus Music & Arts Festival, which takes place every September. In other words, Bloomington is home to a small but vibrant art scene.

Even though the Popp Law Office may be located in Indiana, we assist individuals from all over the world. With modern technology such as skype and e-mail, we are able to assist with visa options for foreign nationals, no matter where they are located.