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O2 Visas


An O-2 Visa is a US work visa granted to the support staff of a O-1 Visa holder. The two applications must be linked, and applied for at the same time. An O-2 alien has all the benefits of an O-1 visa holder, in that they are able to work, live, and travel in the US. However, they are completely dependent on the O-1 Visa holder, and if the O-1 Visa they applied with becomes invalid, so does the dependent O-2 Visa. O-2’s are hard in that you have to apply to USCIS and prove talent and a history with the O-1 Visa holder. However, the level of talent required is lower than that of an O-1 Visa applicant. A good example of an O-2 Visa holder would be a makeup artist who was accompanying an Actor to a film shoot.

Who is eligible

1. You are accompanying an O1 Visa applicant.
2. Your job is in a support role.
3. You are an integral part of the work being done in the O1 Visa petition.
4. You have a history of working with the O1 Visa Applicant.
5. You possess talent in your field of work.
6. You have permanent ties to your home country.

There is no O-2 Visa for the fields of Business, Education, or Science.

Benefits

You can live in the US
You can work in the US
You can freely travel in and out of the US
You can bring O-3 Visa dependents with you
You can study in the US part-time
No limit on number distributed by the US

Limits

You must do only the work you applied to do
You are completely tied to the O1 holder, and lose your visa when they lose theirs
You must have intention to return home at the end of employment
You cannot try to become a citizen while on this Visa
It will not lead to permanent residency

Process

The content of the Visa package varies based on whether you are applying for an O-1A or O-1B visa, but the process is the same. You cannot apply more than a year before your job starts, and the whole process usually takes three months.

1. Compile your application packet with your lawyer.
2. Send out your application packet to USCIS. The decision times vary, but generally 2-6 weeks.
3. If necessary, answer any RFE’s you receive with your lawyer.
4. Receive your approval notice in the mail.
5. Get your Visa from an Embassy
            A. Locate a US Consulate (also known as embassy) that you can get to easily.
            B. Make an appointment for an O Visa.
            C. Complete the DS-160 Form online.
            D. Schedule your appointment and pay online.
            E. Go to Visa Interview.
            F. Get Visa Stamped Passport in Mail.
6. That's it! Welcome to the US!

You should get an appointment time 1-2 weeks from when you book it online. At the appointment you have an interview. You will find out if you were approved at the end of the interview, and your passport will be mailed back to you with a “stamp” in it about 1 week after this interview. That stamp is your O-2 Visa.

Going to the US

The O-2 approval notice will have a start date for your work. You can travel to the US 10 days before that start date to “get settled”. The O-2 Visa requires that you have permanent ties to your home country, and because of this, if feasible, it would be advisable to purchase a return ticket home.

Costs

USCIS Application Fee         $325
MRV Visa Fee                      $190
Premium Processing Fee*    $1225
Visa Issuance Fee                Depends on Country, usually between $0-100

*Optional, restricts USCIS response time to two weeks.