O1 Artist Visa Frequently Asked Questions

PLEASE NOTE: If you have an active career (as an artist, musician, dancer, TV and film professional, design, performer, business, science, technology, and other fields) you may qualify for an O1 Artist Visa.

Prelude Productions Services:





The following information was gathered by the immigration attorneys we have been working with.

Q:  Do I need a visa?


A:   If you want to work as a professional artist, athlete,  or business personnel in the USA (i.e. playing gigs, performing, working as a freelance, film, TV, concerts, recording, composing, teaching, etc.) you must have a valid work visa. Many artists, and others, generally prefer O1 visa, which allows them to work in various engagements and not be limited to one employer, like a freelance worker.



Q: Am I qualified for an O1 artist visa? 


A:   O1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievements. While it might sound hard to meet these requirements, do not get discouraged. If you have an active career (for example, as a musician, dancer, film or TV professional, graphic designer, etc.) in your home country or in the USA, and you have never been illegally present in the USA, you may qualify. Please send us your resume and a list of your professional achievements, so we can assess your qualification for the visa.



Q: How do I get started with the application?


A: First, you need to find an agent to represent and petition for you. Second, you need a professional immigration attorney or experts that will prepare and oversee the petition process. 

    Prelude Productions offers both services.  If we choose to work with you, we can sponsor your visa. More importantly, we have experienced visa specialists or attorneys with expertise in the O1 visa petition and process that can recognize your expertise and highlight your relevant qualifications to strengthen your application.



Q:  Are there any fees involved in the visa application?


A:   Yes, as in any legal process. The fees include USCIS filing fee, attorney’s fee, and visa preparation/representation fee. The good news is that our rates are one of the lowest in the nation.



Q: Can I change my status from OPT or F1 visa to O1?


A:   Yes, if you apply before your F1/OPT status expires.



Q:  Can I change my status from tourist to O1?


A:   Only if you entered the USA with a tourist visa, and did not have any intentions of working here before you entered, you may change your status to O1. If you entered without a visa, using the visa waiver program, which is available to many European nationalities, you cannot change your status to O1 and will have to leave the USA while your petition is processed.



Q:  For how long can the O1 visa be valid?


A:   The O1 visa can last up to 3 years with valid sponsorship.



Q:  Can I extend my visa beyond the 3 years maximum period?  



A:   Yes. Depending on the length of your future itinerary, you have two options: We can petition for an O1 visa extension in your behalf for one year, or, we can re-apply for your new O1 visa for another 3 years, and so on. Our experience shows that once you received an O1 visa, it is very likely that your following O1 petitions will be approved, given that they are prepared by our professional team.



Q: Can I complete to petition process even if I am not in the New York area, or even not in the USA? 


A:  Yes. 



Q: I already have a lawyer who prepares my petition, but no employer or sponsor. Can Prelude Productions become my sponsor? 


A:  Yes. Once we deem you qualified we will be happy to sponsor you for the O1 visa. On the other hand, we can prepare your petition if you already have a sponsor. Please bear in mind that it will probably cost you less if you have us as your sponsor and the preparer for your petition. 



Q: How long will it take for my application to be processed by the USCIS? 


A:   Updated to September 2019, it takes approximately between 3 weeks for very strong cases, and 3-5 months for other cases.



Q: I have more questions. Can I contact you directly?



A:  Definitely. Please email us to prelude.usa@gmail.com with any questions regarding your situation, qualifications, O1 visa sponsorship and legal petition procedures.


Q: What is the visa procedure for Canadian artists who received their O-1 visa Approval Notice.


A: Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a visa stamp at an US embassy in Canada. If the beneficiary plans to enter the US by land (car) he or she should have their passport, I 797 Approval Notice, and evidence of their career, or copy of their portfolio for inspection at the US- canada border. Then they will go over a short interview to confrim their professional ability, and will be given a stamp on their passport as an O-1 visa holder. The applicant do need to prepare any forms or pictures for the procedure.


Q: Can a tourist who entered the US under the Visa waiver Program can change their status to O-1?


A: No. They must leave the US in order to petition for their O-1 Visa. On the other hand, a tourist who entered the US with a tourist visa, is allowed to change their status to O1.




The contents of this page are provided for general information only. Information has been greatly condensed from our various immigration lawyers and related sources, but should not be relied upon for legal purposes. We are not immigration lawyers.

If you need further information, please contact us.

© 2019 Prelude Productions.

Artist Representation and
Productions Company.

USCIS approved O and P visas


Contact us at:

212. 717. 2049