documents we need from you

Once you have submitted the online forms, we will send you an email to confirm certain personnel information and sign our retainer agreement. Once you have confirmed that information and returned the retainer agreement, you will be issued an invoice, and your case manager will be back in touch with a list of documentation we will need to assemble your visa petition. So you know what’s coming, that list will look something like the list below…

Documents we need from you:

Proof of Employment: Visas will only last as long as you can demonstrate that you have a contractual need to be in the U.S. P visas for groups can last for up to a year, and O visas for individuals can last for up to three years. However, it is important that you understand that these long durations are never automatic. To secure a visa, we need to satisfy USCIS’s request for contractual evidence to support your duration request. There are a couple of ways we can do this:

(a) Performance contracts: USCIS wants to see performance contracts (or deal memos or detailed invitations) that cover the full duration you’re seeking. These don’t have to cover every day of the period, but you do want to at least show a contract at the beginning and at the end of the duration and hopefully some in the middle. Performance contracts work best when they are signed by the promoter and by the artist or their representative. IMPORTANT: do not send fake contracts! USCIS telephones venues to check if contracts are real, and if a venue knows nothing about a show, your petition risks denial.


(b) A long-term contract with an “employer”: although labels and talent agents do not typically see themselves as “employers,” we may be able to use an artist’s long term contract with a label or agent to establish that the artist has a contractual need to be performing in the U.S. If the artist has a long-running contractual relationship with some entity, let us know and we can discuss the viability of basing the visa duration on that contract.

“Employer’s” Authorization: The artist’s employer(s)—usually venues/promoters or a talent agency or record label—must authorize the petitioner to file the petition. They will need to sign a letter authorizing the petitioner file the petition, or authorization wording will need to be added into the contract(s). Your case manager can provide you with a template letter or language to satisfy this requirement.

Itinerary: We need you to email us your planned itinerary, including dated, venue names and addresses, and remuneration information. This should be in some editable format, like Excel, Word, or a text file. It should be as complete as possible, but do not make up performances that are not real! If you are seeking a visa that lasts longer than your currently booked engagements, please mention this immediately to your case manager.

Biography: We need a complete biography and (if you are a musical artist) discography. The bio should include information about the artist’s most impressive career achievements, and please do not send a press release. Also, keep in mind that most USCIS officers are not familiar with the music industry, so don’t include slang or acronyms that they might not understand. This should read like a good, short Wikipedia entry. Please make sure it casts the artist in the best light (not “this half-wit drug addict…”).

Proof of a sustained career: If you’re an ensemble, we need some dated document that is from more than one year ago, that shows that the group has existed for more than a year. This can be a contract, liner notes, press, advertisements, etc.

Awards and prizes: Any documentation you can give us that shows that the artist has won or been nominated any significant award or prize.

Information about past and future performances: Documents that show that the artist has been performing, and will perform in the future, at renowned venues, events, or organizations. To show qualifying evidence, we will need to prove

  • (a) that the artist performed in the past, and will performing in the future, at renowned venues, events, or organizations; this can be shown with contracts, live reviews, advertisements, programs, or listings;
  • (b) that the artist was, and will be, the headliner or otherwise featured prominently at these performances;
  • (c) that the venue, event, or organization is renowned; If we can’t find information about the venue or event on Wikipedia, you may need to give us published information about it to demonstrate its renown.

Press: Press from your country and from abroad. Your home domestic press is probably the most impressive, so we should have some of that. However, we also have to prove that you are an “international artist,” so we need press that is not from your home country. Obviously, the more impressive the better, but anything helps. It need not be in English, but if it is not, we may need translations of some or all of your press. If you plan to use non-English press, discuss this with us so we can advise you on the best way to prepare documents that USCIS will accept. We need old and new press to prove that you are an artist with sustained success. Ideally, we should have around 12–15 strong pieces of press from multiple countries and spanning multiple years.

Evidence of commercial success: When possible, it really helps if we can show evidence of the artist’s commercial success. USCIS is looking for some kind of quantifiable metric: chart ranking, airplay or streaming data, ticket or record sales. For this kind of evidence to be useful, we will also need to show evidence that the publication cited is valid. For example, if you were ranked #35 in the Billboard Latin Pop chart, we will need to show the chart AND we will need evidence that Billboard is an industry standard for radio play charts.

Testimonial letters: We need letters from experts in your industry. The authors cannot have a financial interest in the artist securing a visa and should be able to speak to the artist’s commercial and critical achievements. The letters must be signed and should be on letterhead, if possible, and they should not use identical language in describing the artist’s achievements. Your case manager will supply you with a template. We will also need to include for each testimonial letter some kind of published documentation about the author of the testimonial. This means that if we can’t Wikipedia them by name, you’ll need to point us in the direction of a website, CV, resume, or a media article about the author.

Evidence of high pay: When possible it can be helpful to include contracts that show that the artist has been well paid or will be well paid. Generally, we try to include three contracts for past or future performances that indicate

  • (a) the amount of money that will be guaranteed for the performance; and
  • (b) how long (in minutes or hours) the performance was or will last; this sounds crazy, but we are trying to prove high remuneration versus established hourly standards in the industry, so it’s important to be able to show exactly how much the artist is being paid.

Depending on your situation, we may request more documents, but this is certainly a good start.