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Additional Processing

We can also assist in visas for student and exchange programs, religious workers, international journalists, artists and more. Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding any and all U.S. immigration questions and concerns. Our office is located in Israel to ensure fast, efficient service when you need it. If we are unable to assist you, we are happy to direct you to somebody who can!

J-1 Exchange Visitor

The aim of the J-1 visa is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and to develop lasting and meaningful relationships through these exchanges.

The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables the foreign national to participate in an exchange visitor program in the U.S, designated by the Department of State. The foreign visitor exchange programs designated by the Department of State include: au pair, camp counselor, student, government or international visitor, foreign physician, professor, research or short-term scholar, specialist, summer student in travel / work program, teacher, and trainee.

The exchange visitor must apply for approval by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The period of time for a J-1 visa is temporary, limited, and specific. The J-1 visitor must be fluent in the English language and be able to maintain sufficient funds and medical insurance. The visitor must also be able to demonstrate strong social and economic ties abroad or other relevant ties sufficient to show intention of returning to their home country after the end of the program.

F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 visa enables one to enter the U.S. as a full-time student. The student must have received prior acceptance at a U.S. government approved and accredited college or university, academic high school, elementary school, or other approved academic institution. The selected program or course of study must culminate in a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Prior to beginning studies, the student must apply for approval by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The student must also be able to document evidence of financial support during the course of their studies.

R-1 Religious Workers

The R-1 visa enables a religious worker to enter the U.S. in that capacity. The R-1 visa is limited to a period of five years.

The applicant must be a member of a religious denomination that is recognized as part of a bona fide non-profit, religious organization in the U.S. A bona fide religious organization is determined by its tax-exempt status or ability to qualify for such status.

In order to qualify, the applicant must:

  1. have been a member of the denomination for at least two years immediately preceding admission,
  2. be entering the U.S. for the sole purpose of working for the religious organization whether or not in a professional capacity, and
  3. have resided outside the U.S. and not be physically present inside the U.S. for the year immediately preceding the visa request, if he/she has previously spent five years in this visa status.


Entertainers, Athletes, Artists and Musicians coming to the United States with the intention of engaging in employment will be required to obtain a non-immigrant work visa or a green card.

The most common work visas for entertainers and athletes are B, O, and P. The following articles will try to provide basic information on those options:

What is a B visa, and what is the status the applicant receives?

B Visas is a visa which is relevant for Entertainers, Athletes, Artists, and Musicians. Amateur entertainers or athletes—defined as "someone who normally performs without remuneration," may be granted a B-2 visa. However, professional entertainers are not permitted to enter the U.S. under B visa status. Thus, an amateur (or group of amateurs) who will perform in a social or charitable context, or as a competitor in a talent show, contest, or athletic event without pay, is eligible for B-2. In addition to the stage and movie actors, singers, and dancers, auxiliary staff may be granted a B-2 visa as well—which may include technicians, electricians, make-up specialists, and film crew members.

Professional athletes who play for a foreign based team may receive a B visa—provided that 1) their principal place of business or activity in a foreign country; 2) the income of the foreign-based team and the salary of its players are principally accrued in a foreign country; and 3) the foreign-based sports team is a member of an international sports league or the sporting activities involved have an international dimension. Professional athletes, who only receive payment in the form of prize money at tournaments or sporting events (such as a golfer or auto racer), are eligible for a B visa.

Alien musicians can receive a B-1 visa, but only if they meet the following requirements: 1) they are only coming to the U.S. to utilize recording facilities for recording purposes; 2) the recording will be distributed and sold only outside the US; and 3) no public performances will be given.

As far as artists, still photographers are eligible for B-1—provided that they do not receive income from a U.S. source. Artists coming to paint or sculpt, or otherwise perform their craft, may do so provided they are not under contract with a U.S. employer and do not intend to regularly sell such artwork in the U.S.

Entertainers may also enter on a B-1 visa if: 1) they are coming to participate only in a cultural program sponsored by the sending country; 2) they will be performing before a nonpaying audience; and all expenses will be paid by the member's government.

What is an O visa and what are the differences comparing to B Visa?

O visas are especially helpful for those wish to be in the U.S. for extended periods of time. A person who "has extraordinary ability" in the arts or athletics which has been "demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim" may be eligible for an O-1A nonimmigrant visa. There is a separate, lower standard for artists and entertainers compared to the field of athletics. For example, in the athletic field, the applicant must possess a "level of expertise indicating that he or she is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of the field of endeavor," whereas artists and entertainers have a lesser standard of "distinction."

To obtain an O-1A visa in the arts, the applicant must demonstrate "distinction"—which is defined as "a high level of achievement in the field of arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered," and are "renowned, leading, or well-known in the field. It can be proven by documenting at least three of the following: 1) lead in production having a distinguished reputation; 2) critical reviews in major newspapers or trade journals; 3) lead for organization that has a distinguished reputation; 4) record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes; 5) significant recognition from organizations, critics, government agencies or other recognized experts in the field; or 6) has commanded or will command a high salary. The standard for extraordinary ability in the arts is less than for the fields of science, education, business, or athletics.

Motion Picture/Television Industry vs. Artist/Entertainer

A person in the motion picture or television industry must meet a higher standard than that for an artist or entertainer to be eligible for an O-1B. They must show a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement, and must prove this "through extensive documentation." The person must be seeking to enter for the purpose of continuing work in their field.

There is a related category for individuals seeking to accompany O-1 artists or athletes. The O-2 option is available for persons accompanying and assisting the O-1—provided that the O-2 applicant:

1. Is an integral part of the actual performance;
2. Has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that are not of a general nature and cannot be performed by other individuals; and
3. Has foreign residence that he or she has no intention of abandoning.

How to issue O-1 Visa for athletes and what is the difference comparing to O-1 Visa in the arts?

In the athletic field, the applicant must possess a level of expertise indicating that he or she is one of the small percentage who have arisen to the very top of the field of endeavor. To meet this standard, the athlete must have either received a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize, or meet at least three of the following:

•Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
•Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field
•Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary's work in the field for which classification is sought
•Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
•Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought
•A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence
•Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought
•Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

Spouses and children of an O visa applicant are eligible for an O-3 visa, but are not authorized for employment.

Duration is generally for three years with the option to obtain one-year extensions indefinitely. Artists or entertainers may not self-petition. Additionally, O-1 artists and entertainers must first obtain written advisory opinions from appropriate union and management group describing the beneficiary's achievements; the same is true for O-2 petitions, describing their skills and experience with the O-1.

What is a P-1 Visa?

Visas are designed for artists, group entertainers, and athletes, and are divided into P-1, P-2, and P-3. It is generally used for group artists entering the US for short term trips, for athletes, and for culturally unique artists (either groups or individuals).

The category of P-1 allows a person who performs as an athlete (P-1A)—either individually or as part of group/team that is "internationally recognized"—to obtain a visa. Additionally, a person who performs with or is an essential member of an entertainment group that is recognized internationally to obtain a P-1B visa; note that this category excludes solo entertainers. If the person is seeking a P-1B visa as an entertainer, then he or she must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the entertainment group for a period of at least one year.

(Individual entertainers do not qualify for P-1s; rather, they must qualify for another nonimmigrant visa, such as an O-1, P-2, or P-3.) An entertainment group or athletic team only needs to have 2 members to be considered a group. If the entertainment group is billed as a solo artist (e.g., John Legend or John Mayer), then back-up singers or musicians may still receive a P-1 visa—provided that the group has been established for a minimum of one year and at least 75% of the group has been together for at least one year. The requirements that the entertainers be "internationally recognized" and have been established for at least one year may be waived in some cases: If the group has been nationally recognized for a sustained and substantial period of time, and if a performer or entertainer is replacing an essential member of the group because of an illness, exigent circumstance or because the performer/entertainer augments the group by performing a critical role.

P-1 also includes 1) an athlete, whether professional or not, who performs at an internationally recognized level of performance; 2) an amateur athlete or coach of sports teams in the U.S. that are members of a foreign league or association—provided that a) the foreign league or association is the highest level of amateur performance of that sport in that country; b) participation renders the athlete ineligible for U.S. scholarships under NCAA rules; and c) a significant number of the players in the league are drafted into major league teams or minor teams affiliated with them; or a professional or amateur ice skater who performs individually/part of a group theatrical production.

What are P-2 and P-3 Visa and what are the differences between P-1, P-2 and P-3?

P-2 visas are available for artists or entertainers—either individually or as part of a group—who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program between an organization or organizations in the U.S. and one or more foreign organizations, that provides for the temporary exchange of artists, entertainers, or groups.

An individual may obtain a P-3 visa as an artist or entertainer—either individually or as part of a group—to perform, teach, or coach in a "culturally unique" program of a commercial or noncommercial nature that will further the understanding or development of the art form.

P-1 athletes may be admitted for up to 5 years with an extension up to 5 years; afterwards, they must depart the US and file another petition. P-1 athletic team or entertainment group admission may not exceed one year. P-2/P-3 and essential support personnel may be granted admission for a period necessary to complete the event, up to one year, and extensions for a similar duration.

Dependents may enter as P-4s, but are not authorized to work unless permitted under a different category. The duration is for the same time as the principal.

What are the consequences in case of unauthorized employment and Visa Overstaying?

If someone is discovered to have engaged in unauthorized employment (e.g., a professional musician who performs for pay while under a B-2 status), then he or she may be determined to have violated their nonimmigrant status and accrued unlawful status, which carries significant immigration consequences. Violating nonimmigrant status by working unlawfully is a deportable offense. Removal proceedings would be initiated, the alien would be given a Notice to appear in court, and an immigration judge would determine whether or not the individual should be deported. It should be noted, however, that accruing unlawful status is not a criminal matter; rather, it is merely civil.

There is also the issue of unlawful presence, which may trigger either a 3 or 10 year ban from admission to the U.S. If someone is unlawfully present (i.e., overstays his or her visa) for more than 180 days, but less than one year, and departs the U.S. voluntarily before the initiation of removal proceedings, then he or she will be prevented from admission to the U.S. for three years. If the person overstays by one year, then a 10 year ban from admission to the U.S. will be triggered.


The great news are that Athletes, Artists, Performers and Musicians are allowed to obtain a working visa in the USA, both for short periods and for long periods, thanks to several different kind of visas. The problem is that obtaining the working visa require some efforts, time and money.

The bad news are that even by taking all efforts and time to obtain the working visa, unless performing the process according to the law and regulations requirements, the applicant might face punishments as mentioned above. Overstaying without a valid working visa or working without the appropriate visa might cause a real danger to the applicant, such as preventing from entering to the USA in the future. Therefore, taking that risk is not recommendable by all means.

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