FAQs on O-1 Visas

Next Stop LAX is a specialist visa consultancy service for entertainment industry professionals wishing to obtain working visas for the USA

I’m an actor and I want to work in the US, can you help?

Yes, we can help. You don’t have to be Colin Firth to get a visa to act in the US. Through a free consultation with the team at Next Stop LAX we’ll show you what the requirements are to get a visa to work and act in America

Next Stop LAX specializes in visas for actors. It’s what we do every day. Visas for actors is our unique area of expertise and it’s what separates us from everyone else. We know actors, we know your unique needs and we know how to best present your body of work and case to maximize your chances of success. Download our ‘Why Choose Next Stop LAX’ document to find out more.

Talk to our competitors and you’ll see that visas for actors is what they do 10-30% of the time. Don’t put your future and dreams in the hands of those that do visas for actors on a limited scale. Would you ask your local doctor to do your heart transplant?

With Next Stop LAX you’re in great hands. We’re here to support you through the process, answer your questions and file the best case possible with the materials you provide us. While no one can guarantee you a visa we guarantee you that we’ll do everything we can to put your best case forward.

I think I am eligible for a O-1 Visa. What do I need to do?

To qualify for an O-1 Visa you must prove that you are at the top of your career in your home country. You must demonstrate to US Immigration that you are an ‘Alien of Extraordinary Ability’. For your particular area of expertise you need to supply strong supporting evidence with your application. Depending on your job category e.g. actor, photographer or dancer, there are various ways of supplying evidence to support your application. You need substantial documentation, which differentiates you from your peers and demonstrates that you have attained a level of accomplishment, skill and recognition, substantially above that ordinarily achieved.

Others think that I have a 50% chance of obtaining my visa

It is difficult to predict an exact percentage of success. The outcome of your application can often depend on how the individual immigration adjudicator handles your case on the day.

Based on our past experiences, sometimes weaker cases have been approved quickly and stronger cases have received RFE’s (Request for Further Evidence) – it is difficult to pre-empt the outcome of any case. It is Next Stop LAX’s policy only to accept clients that we feel meet the O1-Visa criteria. If we feel a client does not meet the criteria we often help build their case over a longer period of time and start that application once they have reached the required level of requirements.

How Long Does The O-1 Visa Last?
You are eligible for an O-1 Visa for up to 3 years.

We always apply for the full 3 years, however recently adjudicators have been issuing time frames that correspond with the artist’s deal memo dates. We often find time frames can vary depending on which immigration-processing center is used and the individual adjudicator used on the day.

The final outcome and decision is at the discretion of the adjudicating officer on the day. In our experience there are no obvious trends in the decisions.

My Manager / Agent says that they can arrange my working visa for me. Why do I need your services?
We often deal with Managers / Agents who attempt to organize and prepare an artist’s visa. Preparing a strong O-1 case involves piecing multiple sources of evidence together. We have faced a variety of challenges over the years that we have always overcome. Our international team have all been through the process themselves and fully understand your needs.

The primary purpose for an agent/manager is to oversee an artist’s career so they can earn a commission off the artist’s salary. Managers and agents do not necessarily have sufficient time or resources to handle the complexities of your visa application. USCIS requirements are strict, and can change without notice. Evidence needs to be presented in a certain way and there are many forms to fill in — one mistake means the application will be rejected. It makes sense to let your manager/agent focus on building your career while our experienced team takes care of your visa.

I have found an immigration/visa service that is cheaper than Next Stop LAX’s
Next Stop LAX is unlike a usual immigration consultant/visa service as our approach is friendly, informal and non intimidating. We liaise with the sponsor and the artist.

Our team often works and takes calls outside of normal working hours, thus accommodating the international time difference, which can be a big help to our clients. The team always make themselves as available as humanly possible. We actively compile your case, and assist and mentor the artist in compiling their application, including their letters of recommendation. We believe our service offers value for money and each case is priced on an individual basis.

What are the criteria for an actor’s visa?

Don’t get caught up in the legal jargon. Call us so we can discuss in plain English what’s required and how we can best present your case..

Evidence that the alien has been nominated for, or has been the recipient of, significant national or international awards or prizes in the particular field such as an Academy Award, an Emmy, a Grammy or a Directors Guild Award; OR at least three of the following:

1. The alien has performed, and will perform, services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements:

Evidence should include, but not be limited to:
Any evidence that shows a leading or starring role in any production (film, television, theatrical production). Being an ‘extra’ does not count, nor does playing a corpse – unless the corpse has a leading or starring role!

2. The alien has achieved national or international recognition for achievements evidenced by critical reviews or other published materials by or about the individual in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines or other publications:

Evidence should include, but not be limited to:
Published material means just that! It has to be published in magazines, newspapers or online. This does not include IMDB bio’s or anything that you put on your own website or wikepedia. It must have been published.

3. The alien has performed, and will perform, in a lead, starring or critical role for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation evidenced by articles in newspapers, trade journals, publications, or testimonials:

Evidence should include, but not be limited to:
Anything that shows you have completed projects for prestigious corporations – for television and film productions we can argue that. BUT, for those of you who are models, this includes contracts etc that shows who you have worked for. If you have be featured in an editorial for Calvin Klein, we want to see the contracts etc.

4. The alien has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, box office receipts, motion picture or television ratings and other occupational achievements reported in trade journals, major newspapers or other publications:

This only applies if you have played a leading or starring role in MOVIES or you are a very successful musician. For those of you in the movies, we can take care of this. For the musicians, we need to see the sales of your music; did the album go Platinum etc.

5. The alien has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field:

Evidence should include:
This is probably the easiest of the criterion to fill. However, we want letters that describe your extraordinary achievements and your leading and critical roles in the productions you have worked in/on. Being a pleasure to work with, ethical and an upstanding human being doesn’t do it I’m afraid. The letters needs to state specific productions and your specific abilities.

6. Evidence that the alien has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other substantial remuneration for services in relation to others in the field, as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence:

Evidence should include:
Contracts that show you have earned a high salary. Note, the criterion says a high salary ‘in relation to others in the field’ – we can argue this point, we’re good at it. Though we do need the contracts.

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