Navigating the Stage: Choosing the Right Visa for Artists and Entertainers in the United States

October 13, 2023

It's essential for artists and entertainers to choose the right visa category that aligns with their professional activities in the United States to avoid potential visa violations and their associated consequences. A B-1 visa classification, for example, would not be a good fit for professional artists or entertainers seeking admission to the U.S. to perform services unless they meet a very narrowly defined set of requirements. Instead, performing artists or entertainers should seek admission in a more appropriate classification, which in most circumstances will be a P or O visa. A B-1 visa would be appropriate for a professional entertainer who is coming to the United States to participate in a cultural program sponsored by the sending country and will be performing before a nonpaying audience, with all expenses, including per diem, paid by the member’s government.

A B-2 visa classification is appropriate in cases involving an amateur (or group of amateurs) who will not be paid for performances and will perform in a social and/or charitable context or as a competitor in a talent show, contest, athletic event, or other similar activity. Our recommendation for artists and entertainers with professional schedules in the U.S. would be to avoid the temptation of traveling to the U.S. in B-1 and/or B-2 classification, which may have already been granted for other purposes, unless they clearly fit the set of requirements outlined above.

Violating the terms of your visa in the United States can have serious consequences, both in the short term and the long term. Violations of visa terms can affect a foreign national’s eligibility for future visas or immigration benefits. Violating visa terms can lead to the loss of legal status in the United States and/or visa revocation at a consular post. The U.S. government may view past violations negatively when considering future applications for visas or green cards. If a foreign national is found to be in violation of the visa terms, they may be subject to deportation or removal proceedings. This can result in your immediate removal from the United States, and the foreign national may be barred from reentering the country for a specified period of time or even permanently. Professional artists and entertainers seeking entry to the U.S. should consider more fitting options, including P and O visa classifications.

Edyta Salata, Esq.

Ms. Salata focuses her practice in U.S. immigration law. She was named a "Super Lawyer®-Rising Star" and earned the highest Peer Review Rating of AV®-Preeminent™ from the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory attesting to her legal ability and professional ethical standards.Ms. Salata received her Juris Doctor from University of Illinois College of Law in May 2002 and Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago in January 1999. Ms. Salata is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA); she served as a co-chair of the New Americans Initiative and UPL Committees and a member of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Committee (CBP) of the Chicago Chapter.She was also named as chairperson of the Immigration Law Committee of the DuPage County Bar Association. Ms. Salata has written extensively in the area of immigration law and is a frequent speaker at bar association conferences.

Related News

Success Story: H-4 EAD Litigation

Attorney Mika B. Kozar, filed a lawsuit for a bank employee seeking a D.C. federal court to compel U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to address delays in his visa renewal application, saying the delays put him at risk of losing his job. The complaint said that the USCIS has unreasonably delayed renewing his visa and […]

Jeff Sessions Wants to Impose Quotas on Immigration Judges.

USCIS has just announced that they are now extending the suspension of CAP subject H-1B petitions all the way until February 19, 2019.

USCIS Launches Naturalization and Citizenship Certificate Redesign Pilot

On Jan. 22, 2018, four USCIS field offices and one service center will participate in a 10-day pilot to issue redesigned citizenship and naturalization certificates to U.S. citizens. The pilot sites are: Norfolk Field Office Tampa Field Office Minneapolis-St. Paul Field Office Sacramento Field Office Nebraska Service Center The redesign is part of an ongoing […]