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O2 visa, or accompanying alien visa, is a non-immigrant visa that allows the dependents or assistants of individuals with O1 visas to enter the United States. The O1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. On the other hand, the O2 visa is designed for people essential to performing the O1 visa holder's job or event.

Eligibility for O2 Visa

To be eligible for an O2 visa, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • Accompanying an O-1 Visa Holder: The applicant must accompany an O-1 visa holder to the U.S., recognized as an individual with extraordinary ability in their field.
  • Essentiality: The applicant must be an essential member of the O-1 visa holder's team, and their presence must be necessary to complete the O-1 visa holder's work successfully.
  • Expertise: The applicant must possess critical skills and experience not readily available in the U.S. workforce.
  • Temporary Stay: The applicant must only seek to enter the U.S. temporarily and have a residence abroad that they do not intend to abandon.

How to Apply for O2 Visa

The process of applying for an O2 visa is similar to that of other nonimmigrant visas. The O1 visa holder must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of the O2 visa applicant.

  • Employer Petition

    The O-1 visa holder's employer must file a petition on behalf of the O-2 visa applicant. The petition must include detailed information about the applicant's qualifications, the nature of their work, and their essentiality to the O-1 visa holder's work.

  • Supporting Documents

    The O-2 visa applicant must submit supporting documents, including a valid passport, a copy of the approved O-1 visa petition, and evidence of their qualifications and expertise.

  • Interview

    The O-2 visa applicant may be required to attend an interview with a U.S. consulate or embassy official in their home country.

  • Decision

    The USCIS will examine the application and determine whether to approve or reject the O-2 visa. If authorized, the applicant will be allocated an O-2 visa and allowed to enter the U.S.

Along with the petition, the following documents must be submitted:

  • A written consultation from a recognized peer group in the applicant's field of expertise.
  • Evidence of the applicant's critical skills and experience.
  • A statement from the O1 visa holder explains how the O2 visa holder's services are essential to their work performance.
  • Proof of the O1 visa holder's status.

Once the petition is approved, the O2 visa applicant must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

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O2 Visa Duration

The O-2 visa is generally granted for the same period as the O-1 visa holder's visa. It means that the visa holder can stay in the U.S. for the duration of the O-1 visa holder's stay. If the O-1 visa holder's stay is extended, the O-2 visa holder may also be granted an extension.

Key Terms for O2 Visa

  • Accompanying and Supporting Role: O-2 visa holders must be coming to the United States solely to provide essential support to the O-1 visa holder.
  • O-1 Visa: A nonimmigrant visa granted to individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • Essential Support: Support that is integral to the successful performance of the O-1 visa holder's activity and that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker.
  • Petitioner: The employer or representative who petitions for the O-1 and O-2 visas on behalf of the foreign employee.

Final Thoughts on O2 Visa

The O-2 visa is essential for individuals who possess extraordinary abilities in arts, athletics, or entertainment to work temporarily in the United States. The O-2 visa allows essential support personnel to accompany the O-1 visa holders to the United States and work in their field of expertise. The O-2 visa application process is similar to the O-1 visa, and the visa holder can enjoy many benefits.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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