Ten Steps to a Foreign Artist Visa: A Vastly Oversimplified Guide
(WARNING! Do not use these steps as the final word; every case is different. Always start by consulting ArtistsfromAbroad)
Scenario: A small performing arts center in a small city and state wants to hire French violinist Jolliette to perform. Jolliette will need an O-1 visa. The performing arts center will serve as her “Petitioner.”(For a more detailed Visa Processing Timeline, see Visa Processing Countdowns.)
- Petitioner prepares a visa petition (including all required forms and extensive supporting evidence).
- Petitioner submits draft petition and fee of $250 to American Federation of Musicians (the appropriate union in this scenario) for a consultation letter indicating whether the union has any objection to the petition.
- Petitioner submits the official petition, the AFM consultation letter, and a filing fee of $325 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center (the appropriate service center in this scenario; see USCIS Service Center Tips, Jurisdictions and Contacts.
- USCIS reviews petition. Petitioner waits, typically about four or five weeks, perhaps more.
- USCIS sends approval notice (or rejection/request for more information, delaying things further) to Petitioner.
- Assuming approval by USCIS, French violinist schedules interview at U.S. Consulate in Paris, completes and submits visa application forms to the consulate, and pays visa application fee. (Consulate fees vary; in Paris it is $190.)
- Artist is interviewed at U.S. Consulate in Paris and surrenders passport.
- Artist waits two to five days (or longer, depending on the time of year and the artist’s background).
- Artist returns to U.S. Consulate and picks up passport and visa.
- Artist travels to U.S.