The O-3 is a non-immigrant visa designed for
immediate family members of the O-1 and O-2 visa holders to join them in the
US. The spouses and under 21 unmarried children of the O-1 and O-2 visa holders
are only the eligible dependents who can obtain an O-3 visa.
The O-3 visa holders are not allowed to work in
the US but can take up a study course while in the country. But if you wish to
work in the US, you must switch from your O-3 visa to a Student or Work visa.
The US government created the O-3 visa
route for dependents of O-1 and O-2 visa holders. The O-1 visa is specifically
designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in business, education,
science, and arts to enter the US and engage in paid activities. Their
extraordinary abilities include skills and talents that are not easily found.
This visa is typically valid for up to 3 years,
whereby the O-1 visa holder must leave their country and stay in the US
throughout the validity period of their visa. The O-2 visa holders are merely
the assisting people or personnel of the O-1 visa holders. Family members of
both O-1 and O-2 visa holders may need to join them and enter the US; for this
reason, the US government created the O-3 visa.
The only people eligible to join the O-1 and O-2
visa holders are their immediate family members who are the spouses/partners or
under 21 years old children who are unmarried. The O-3 visa holders are
permitted to remain in the US for as long as the O-1 and O-2 visa holders
(their primary visa holders) are still in the US.
An O-3 visa work permit holder cannot work in
the US; hence, they cannot perform any business or employment during their stay.
As an O-3 visa Holder, you can enter the US and
leave as often as possible without immigration restrictions. You can even enroll
in a US part-time or full-time study course. However, you are not permitted to
work in the US, which implies that you cannot obtain a Social Security Number
If you are caught doing any work illegally, you
might risk deportation and even cause trouble for your primary visa holder (the
O-1 or O-2 visa holder). This may also hamper your chances of obtaining a US
visa in the future.
As a family member who would like to join an O-1
and O-2 visa holder to the US, you can apply in two ways. You can apply
together with them or after they have obtained their visa. You are required to
apply at the US embassy closest to you.
Complete the online non-immigrant visa
application form. Include your details and the purpose of entering the US.
For your application to be processed, you must
pay the O-3 visa application fee, which is $190. Gather your receipts as proof
of payment and include them in your file.
Schedule an interview with your closest US
embassy. To avoid further delays, you can apply together with the primary visa
holder, the O-1 or O-2 visa applicant, so that you can attend the interview at
the same time.
Come with your documents to support your
application on the interview day. You must prove that you are qualified to be issued
the O-3 visa.
Ensure you attend the visa interview with all
the required documents to support your application. At the interview, the US
immigration officials will ask you several questions regarding the documents
you have provided and your purpose for entering the US.
You must prove how related you are to the O-1 or
O-2 visa holder and your plan to return home.
You must exercise patience after applying for
your O-3 visa, as it typically takes about 6 weeks to be processed. In fewer
cases, applicants must wait for a decision on their O-3 visa application for up
to 3 months or longer.
The O-1 visa is designed for applicants who have
extraordinary abilities. The O-2 visa is created for individuals assisting the
O-1 visa holder. Whereas the O-3 visa is created for the immediate family
members (dependents) of both O-1 and O-2 visa holders.
The O-3 visa holder is tied to an O primary visa
holder, who is either an O-1 or O-2 visa holder. This implies that once the
stay of either an O-1 or O-2 visa holder expires in the US, the O-3 visa
holder's stay also expires. Also, the O-3 visa holder cannot apply for
permanent residency in the US without the primary visa holder applying for the
Applying for an O-3 visa involves rigorous
processes including the collation of several documents to support your
application. It's best to seek expert legal guidance in applying to avoid
omitting a crucial document in your application.
Besides that, a professional US immigration
lawyer will help you assess your situation to make an informed decision on your
choice of visa and how to make the most of your stay.