O-1 and P-1 VISAS

Thinking about heading to the US to play a show? Doing some promo in the states?

Anyone wanting to work in the US would need to apply for the appropriate visa category.

There are 2 main categories for applicants in the Entertainment Industry, these are:



O1 visas are for individuals with ‘Extraordinary Ability’ within their fields, for example musicians, actors, athletes, scientists, etc..


Obtaining an O-1 visa is a two-stage process:


Step One – Petition


You should seek a Visa Agent or US attorney to put together a petition for you and file this with the USCIS. As part of the petition process, you would need an entity in the US who can act as petitioner for the work you will be undertaking. This could be a promoter, agent, record label etc. You will be expected to provide evidence on how you meet the O-1 criteria. Your Visa Agent or US attorney can provide you with a list of requirements.


If you have crew or supporting musicians travelling with you, they should apply for an O-2.


Once filed, USCIS will review your application and decide whether or not you meet the criteria. There are three possible outcomes;


  1. You receive an approved petition and can then move onto the second stage, attending a US embassy interview to get your visa stamp put in your passport (see step two).

  2. You receive a request for further information, meaning that USCIS feel your case is not strong enough and will need further evidence before making a final decision

  3. Your petition is denied due to not meeting the criteria. You would need to re-apply with stronger evidence.


It can take up to 8 weeks to receive a decision once the petition has been filed, however you can upgrade to premium processing, which guarantees a response within 15 calendar days. The O-1 visa can be valid for a maximum of 3 years.


Step Two – US Embassy Interview

Being in receipt of just the approved petition unfortunately doesn’t guarantee a visa. You must attend a US embassy for an interview where your passport will be stamped with the visa itself.

As part of the embassy process, you will be asked about your job role, your pay, what you plan to do in the US and how long you will stay. You should make your Visa Agent aware of any past criminal misdemeanours or problems with US immigration, however historic or minor and this can have impact the visa decisions and can cause long delays.

Where possible, you should apply in your home country as this can make the process a lot smoother.



P1 visas are for bands and groups of performers for example theatre groups, groups of athletes etc . The P-1 visa can be valid for a maximum of a year.

Obtaining an P-1 visa is also a two-stage process and the process works in the same way.

Any supporting musicians or crew should apply for the P-1S.



We are experts in petition based US visas and can assist you through the process. Please get in touch for more info and we’d be happy to assist.


email us at hello@vivalavisa.co.uk , or give us a call on +44 (0) 1743 892 660 any time.