Battan Alpert Hutchings LLP | Immigration And Nationality Law
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Serving The Immigration Needs Of Businesses And Families

Dancers, Musicians & Artists (O-1B And P Visas)

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the immigration attorneys at Battan Alpert Hutchings LLP provide comprehensive legal advice and representation to artists, dancers and musicians facing immigration related issues throughout the U.S., and the world. You can trust in the Battan Alpert Hutchings LLP team to provide the skilled and experienced immigration services needed to help you realize your dreams.

The following information is intended to help you gain a better understanding of the law in this area.

Contact us today to discuss your situation with a seasoned Colorado immigration attorney.

P-3 Visas

P-3 visas are for artists who teach or perform “culturally unique” art forms. Argentine tango dancers, flamenco dancers and musicians who play traditional folk music are examples of artists who qualify for P-3 visas.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants the P-3 visa for the period of time the artist has work in the U.S. The maximum amount of time you may apply for is one year. Normally, the visa may be renewed a number of times.

U.S. Organization

A U.S. organization must file a petition with the USCIS on behalf of the artist. The organization must submit a contract or letter that shows the terms of employment or sponsorship.


Along with the employer’s petition, the application to the USCIS will include information to show that the artist is qualified to teach or perform the art form. This information can include the following: a resume or curriculum vitae; letters from students, teachers or organizers; and promotional material like photographs, critical reviews and flyers from teaching workshops. The application must also include an itinerary of where the artist will teach or perform.

You must also have a letter from a specific artists’ union stating that the union has no objection to the artist receiving a visa.

The USCIS may take up to six months to process the application. For an extra fee of $1,440, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will process the application in 15 days; USCIS will either approve the application or issue a request for additional information in 15 days.

U.S. Consulate

If the artist is outside the U.S. or otherwise unable to apply for a change of status in the United States, the artist must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. It may take several days to several weeks for the consulate to issue the visa. The consulate may also interview the artist.

O-1 Visa

The exceptional artist may choose to apply for an O-1 visa instead of a P-1 or P-3 visa.

The O-1 visa is for the period the artist has work in the U.S. The maximum time for the initial visa is three years. The artist may apply for one-year extensions of their O-1 visa.

O-1 visa artists must show a high level of achievement in that art form. You must show at three of the following forms of evidence to obtain an O-1 visa. According to 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iv), you must show that you:

  1. Have or will perform a lead or starring role in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation (as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications contracts, or endorsements)
  2. That you have achieved national or international recognition for achievements (evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications)
  3. Have performed a lead, starring or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation (evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications or testimonials)
  4. Have a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes (as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings, and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications)
  5. Have received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged (such testimonials must clearly indicate the author’s authority, expertise, and knowledge of the alien’s achievements)
  6. Have commanded or now commands a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field (as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence)
  7. Other comparable evidence (this would be very strong letters from other well-known artists or professionals in your field)

Please remember that the above information is general and is not complete. If you are considering applying for a visa, you should contact the Colorado immigration law firm of Battan Alpert Hutchings LLP to discuss your particular situation. Through a personal consultation, we can identify the process which best suites your needs.

We represent clients throughout Colorado and the U.S., as well as those from around the world, including Argentina, Nepal, Canada, the European Union, Mexico, Philippines, Tibet, India, China and elsewhere.

Contact us today to discuss your situation with a seasoned Colorado immigration lawyer dedicated to helping you realize your dreams.