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Do Canadian entertainers need O-visas to visit the US?

Non U.S. residents with extraordinary abilities in the television or motion pictures industry, athletics, education, business, science or the arts typically need an O-1 visa to perform in the United States. However, citizens of Canada are excluded. Canadian citizens with such abilities in British Columbia do not need O-1 visas. Instead, all they need to present at the border is proof that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved their O classification.

Who needs O-1 Visas?

Immigrants who have permanent resident status in Canada require visas to enter the United States. Similarly, any nationals from other countries who want to enter the United States from Canada will have to apply for O-1 visas for temporary entry to perform there.

Requirements for O-1 visa classification

An entertainer or artist must have a U.S. employer or an employer’s agent who would be responsible for filing the petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Documented proof of the applicant’s extraordinary ability in a particular field will be required. Additionally, for someone in the television or motion picture business, a written advisory from a management organization or labour union must accompany the application.

O-1 Visa applications must include copies of the contracts between artists and their agents or employers. Furthermore, the nature of the artist or entertainer’s planned activities, a full itinerary and start and end dates of the events must accompany the application for an O-1 visa. If an applicant with extraordinary abilities applies for re-entry within two years of a previously approved engagement, the USCIS might waive the need for a new application.

Artists or entertainers in British Columbia should note that the O-1 visa applications would be for themselves only. Groups of entertainers are classified differently and need to apply for a different visa under U.S. immigration laws. Similarly, support personnel and dependents of the entertainer must apply for other visa types.