Visa Options for Fashion Models (O-1B, H-1B3, and P-3 Visas)

NYFW 2Do you dream of walking down the runway at New York Fashion Week?  Are you interested in becoming a brand ambassador for a prestigious luxury brand?  Whether you’ve mastered the catwalk or discovered your niche in commercial modelling, several visa options are available depending on your level of achievement and reason for coming to the U.S.

Fashion models typically enter the U.S. in one of two ways— the O-1B visa (for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement) or the H-1B visa (for Specialty Occupations, Department of Defense Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models).  The majority of fashion models will apply for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, while a third option for models is the P-3 visa (for Artists and Entertainers who are Participating in a Culturally Unique Program).

H-1B3 Visa for Fashion Models

Melbourne-Model-Casting-Call-3-EditTo qualify for the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa, you must be a fashion model of “prominence” and the model must possess distinguished merit or ability. Continue reading

O-1B Visa for Artists or Actors with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the Arts or Motion Pictures

filmmakerCalling all talented artists and actors!  Are you an actor trying to make a breakthrough in Hollywood?  Or perhaps you are a renowned violinist, famous choreographer, or an award-winning pastry chef?  If you excel in your field of arts or the motion picture industry, you may be eligible for the O-1B visa.  The O-1B visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry who will perform in the U.S. in an event or project associated with this ability.

The O-1 visa can be an alternative to the highly competitive H-1B visa (for skilled workers in specialty fields), which in recent years has reached its annual cap of 65,000 visas within days after opening the program.  Unlike the H-1B visa, the O-1 visa has no annual limit on the number of visas available, it can be filed year-round, and the length of stay can be extended indefinitely based on the time required to complete a project or event.

Individuals who are essential to the O-1 applicant’s successful performance in the U.S. may apply for an O-2 visa in conjunction with the O-1 visa application. Continue reading

Q-1 Visa is an Opportunity to Share Your Culture through an Employer’s International Exchange Program

Q-1 visa

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Are you interested in sharing your home country’s cultures and traditions while working in the U.S.?  Are you an employer interested in obtaining approval for an exchange program in your company so that you can hire international employees on a Q-1 visa?

If so, the Q-1 visa may be available to meet your company’s specific needs for international employees.  Known as the “Disney visa” because it was originally designed by Disney to meet their need for “cultural representatives” to work in Epcot World Showcase, the Q-1 visa is for individuals wishing to participate in an international exchange program administered by an employer.  It is most popularly utilized to obtain short-term employment with Disney and used by some hotel chains to temporarily employ chefs. Continue reading

Professional Athletes, Gamers, and Entertainers who are Internationally Recognized are Eligible for the P-1 Visa

gamers

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The P-1 visa is a viable alternative for athletes and entertainers who may not meet the “extraordinary ability or achievement” requirement of the O-1 visas.  If you are an internationally recognized athlete coming to the U.S. to perform individually or as part of a team, you may be eligible for the P-1A visa. Professional athletes from a wide range of sports including soccer, taekwondo, and online gamers receive P-1A visas.

If you are an entertainer who is part of an internationally recognized entertainment group coming to the U.S. to perform with the group or are joining an internationally recognized entertainment group in the U.S., you may be eligible for the P-1B visa. Examples of a P-1B visa recipient are foreign artists who perform at a SXSW festival, a group of stage actors, and circus performers.

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Visa Options for Entrepreneurs and Recent Grads: H-1B Visa through Global Entrepreneur in Residence and J-1 Visa for International Student Entrepreneurs through University Exchange Programs

In the absence of an official “startup visa”, and in lieu of the International Entrepreneur Parole Rule, which has now been postponed until March 2018, organizations and programs exist that help entrepreneurs from around the world establish their businesses in the U.S.  These programs are generally geared towards assisting international students who have developed a technology or innovation with launching a start-up in the U.S. that creates high-paying jobs.

H-1B Visa through the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

GlobalEIR-logo-black-and-blue-1

Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Global EIR) is an organization that helps international entrepreneurs gain access to visas to come to the U.S. to build their businesses and create local jobs by partnering with universities.  A university will sponsor a foreign-born entrepreneur for a H-1B visa (which is not subject to the H-1B visa lottery and quota) to work on campus to provide mentoring to students, review business proposals, or teach classes.  This is a tremendous benefit, as an H-1B applicant had a one in four chance of making it through the lottery in 2017 before the application could be reviewed by USCIS on its merits. While working for the university, the entrepreneur continues to build his or her business in the U.S.  After 6-18 months, this option could lead to an O-1 visa and Green Card.

The Global EIR currently has a presence in 13 colleges and universities across four states, including the following schools: University of Alaska, Anchorage; Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage; Babson College, Boston; University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Missouri, St. Louis; and San Jose State University.

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P-2 and P-3 Visas for Performers, Artists, and Entertainers in Reciprocal Exchange Programs and Culturally Unique Programs

USA flag pin in international collectionIf you are coming to the U.S. to perform, teach, or coach under a reciprocal exchange program or a culturally unique program, you may be eligible for a P-2 or P-3 visa.

P-2: Performer or Group Performing under Reciprocal Exchange Program

The P-2 visa is available for individual and group performers coming to the U.S. to perform as part of a reciprocal exchange program between an organization in the U.S. and an organization in another country.  Essential support personnel such as trainers or stagehands who are an integral part of the artist’s performance are also eligible for a P-2 visa.

Length of Stay:  Initial period is the time needed to complete the event, competition or performance, not to exceed 1 year.  Extensions may be granted for increments of up to 1 year in order to continue or complete the event, competition or performance. Continue reading

Now is the Time to Start Preparing Your H-1B Visa Application

enter-usa-h1b-visaThe H-1B visa is one of the most popular ways for foreign professionals i specialty occupations to obtain a work visa, and even a Green Card in the United States.  A successful H-1B application requires sponsorship by the professional’s employer, and can be granted for three years, with one additional three-year renewal. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, and requires a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent.

Although USCIS will not begin accepting H-1B applications until April 1, 2017, it is critical
to start preparing your application now, as the competition for this coveted visa is fierce.  The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. However, the first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.  In 2016, USCIS received 236,000 H-1B visa applications within the first five days of the application period. Once USCIS receives enough applications to satisfy the 65,000 quota, it implements a lottery.  The applications that are not selected in the lottery are returned to the sender, along with their filing fees.  In 2016, there was a 25% chance of an application making it through the lottery with a Bachelor’s Degree, and a one third chance with a Master’s Degree.  Continue reading

All Canadian Residents Applying for K-1 Visas Must Now Interview in Montreal

city-skyline-montreal-canada-pexelsAs of April 1, 2016,  the Vancouver offices of the U.S. Consulate General will cease processing of K-1 visas. Now, the K-1 visas, commonly known as”Fiancé(e) visas,” will only be processed by the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal.

While the Bureau of Consular Affairs acknowledged that this change may inconvenience some applicants who will now need to travel for their interviews, it promises that the adjustment will help the consulate schedule and adjudicate K-1 applications more efficiently. Continue reading

For Australians Searching for an Alternative to the Competitive H-1B Visa, the E-3 Specialty Occupation Visa May Be the Answer

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

E-3 visas were created for nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia for temporary employment in specialty occupations.

AustraliaFor citizens of Australia, E-3 visa is an alternative to the competitive H-1B visa.  This specialty occupation visa, which was created by law by President Bush in 2005 in Section 501 of the REAL ID Act, is solely for for nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia.  Eligibility for the E-3 visa requires (1) theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields, and (2) at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Unlike the H-1B, which is only available for three years, with an optional three year renewal, the E-3 visa is available for up to two years per extension, and has no maximum number of extensions (with some exceptions).  It can therefore be renewed indefinitely as long as the visa holder continues to meet the visa requirements. Continue reading

5 Secrets to Preparing a Successful H-1B Application

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

H-1B visaOne of the most notorious ways for foreign professionals to obtain a visa and even a Green Card in the US is through an H-1B visa, which requires sponsorship by the professional’s employer, and can be granted for three years with one additional three year renewal. The H-1B allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, and requires a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

However, with great benefits comes great competition. The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Due to the United States’ stability in an increasingly unstable world, in 2015, 233,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B, a significant increase over 2014 (172,500 applications), and nearly double the applicants from two years ago Lottery Balls(124,000). Because the average applicant with a bachelor’s degree has only a 27% chance of making the quota, it is essential to not only meet the requirements and have an outstanding application, but to first make it into the H-1B lottery. Continue reading

Canadian Immigration Policy Turns Against Investor-Based Immigration, Leading to More Opportunities for Foreign Investors in the United States

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Anthony Mance, Esq.

 A report in the Hong Kong media led to the downfall of the world’s most popular investor-based visa program in Canada, leaving thousands of foreign investors out in the cold. According to an article published in Forbes magazine on February 13, 2014, the Canadian government announced the immediate cancellation of the popular investor visa program after the highly publicized report stated that “the country’s investor visa program had become an express lane for wealthy Chinese hoping to secure overseas residency”. The cancellation of the program meant that 65,000 pending applications, including 45,500 of which were submitted by individuals from Mainland China, were immediately eliminated.

In a statement made on the evening of February 11, 2014, the Canadian government announced the termination of both the Federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and Federal Entrepreneur (EN) program. In 2011, approximately 10,000 immigrants entered Canada through the IIP, while almost 1,000 entered through the EN program. Continue reading