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O3 Visas


An O-3 Visa is a US Visa granted to families of O-1 or O-2 Visa holders, allowing them to accompany their relative to the US. It is not a work visa. Although you can study in the US while on an O-3 Visa, you cannot work there. Also, the Visa is only good for spouses and minor children. Any other relative will not qualify for an O-3 Visa. O-3’s are different than O-1’s and O-2’s because you don’t have to apply to USCIS for approval. Instead, you apply at a consulate/embassy once your relative’s O-1/O-2 visa has been approved by USCIS. These Visa’s are pretty much rubber stamped, which means unless something very out of the ordinary happens, you will be easily approved for one.

Costs

Attorney Fees                     $0
MRV Visa Fee                      $190
Visa Issuance Fee                Depends on Country, usually between $0-100

Who is eligible

1. Spouses. You can be a straight or gay (same-sex) married couple.
2. Children. Must be under 21 years of age. Must be unmarried.

Benefits

▪ You can live in the US
▪ You can go to school in the US
▪ You can freely travel in and out of the US
▪ You can freely transfer to a different visa
▪ You can pursue permanent residency
▪ No limit on number distributed by the US

Limits

▪ You can’t work in the US
▪ You are completely tied to the O1/O2 holder
▪ It will not lead to permanent residency

Process

1. Wait for your related O1/O2 visa holder to get an Approval notice in the mail from USCIS for their visa Application.
2. At the same time as the O1/O2 visa holder, or at a later date:
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.

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-3 Visa.

Things to Bring With You to Appointment

1. Copy of approval notice of the related O1/O2 application
2. Birth or Marriage certificate proving relation
3. One color photo, US passport-style
4. Proof you have completed the DS-160 form online

The Interview

If you are applying at the same time as the O1/O2 holder you will have a “joint” interview. In that case, the interview should take about 5 minutes. If you apply alone it should take one minute.

They are going to ask you very simple, basic questions like what is your name? When were you born? When did you get married?

Sometimes they tell you at the end of the interview if you are going to be approved.

Going to the US

The O-1/O-2 visa holder will have a start date for their work in their approval. They can travel to the US 10 days before that start date to “get settled”. You can also travel at this time, provided however, that you do not travel to the US before they do. You can go together, or after the ‘main visa holder’, but not before.

Some visas require you to show that you are coming back to your home country, and therefore you need a return flight. The O-3 Visa is not one of them. Feel free to buy a one way ticket and work out the details of your return later.

Things to Bring With You on the Plane

1. Copy of approval notice of the related O1/O2 application
2. Birth or Marriage certificate proving relation
3. Valid Passport with O3 Visa stamp inside it

When you get off the plane they will bring you through US Customs where a man at a counter will ask you what you are doing in the US, and you give him all the forms above and tell him you are on an O-3 visa accompanying your relative.

Complications

If you are from a country that has had a terrorism problem, or you aren’t but have the same name as someone who is on the US Terrorism list, be prepared to wait for your O-3 Visa. You will get a “221(g)” notice at the end of your interview, which basically means you are being put on hold until the US Department of Homeland Security checks to make sure you aren’t a terrorist. This check can take days, months, or even years. There’s no way of knowing.