Law Offices of

Cynthia R. Exner, LLC



American Immigration Lawyers Association










Temporary VisasHave you ever wondered how Elton John comes to the US to perform? 

There are several countries in the world which are so trusted by the US, that foreign nationals coming to the US do not need to obtain any visas prior to boarding the airplane.  The US trusts that British citizens, for instance, will come to the US temporarily and return to their country.  People from England can complete a Visa Waiver on board an airplane while en route to the US.  The Visa Waiver is valid for only 90 days and does not allow a foreign national to work in the US or to Change Status or Extend Status while in the US. 

However, there are many more countries which do not qualify for the Visa Waiver program, and must apply for a visa to come to the US.

Elton John might apply at the US Consulate in London for an O- Visa.  An O-1 Visa is a temporary visa for individuals’ with extraordinary ability or achievement.  An O-1A temporary visa is for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics.  A famous athlete coming to participate in the Olympics might obtain an O-1A visa.  An O-1B temporary visa is for persons with extraordinary ability in the arts or motion picture or television industry.  O-2 temporary visas are for their staff and assistants who are an integral part of the performance, and O-3 temporary visas are for the spouse and children. 

The field of entertainment immigration is a huge industry in which deadlines are critical.  Elton John must apply for his visa and obtain it well in advance of his performance, or risk not being able to arrive in the US on time.  There is a very famous case involving John Lennon from the Beatles who was denied entry to the US based on a misdemeanor conviction for cannabis possession in London. 

But, not every entertainer is as famous as Elton John.  How does a lesser known entertainer come to perform on The Voice, for instance?  The P-3 Visa category is for artists or entertainers coming to the US to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique; such as folk, cultural, musical, theatrical or artistic performances which further the understanding of the art form.  Spouses and children may also accompany the P-3 visa holder, as well as supporting staff and assistants.  

There are two types of visas.  Permanent Resident visas or “green cards” are for those foreign born persons who want to come to the US to live permanently in the US.  Many people do not want to come to the US permanently.  Many people only want to come to the US temporarily for a vacation at Disneyworld, or to study at a US university, or to get medical treatment at one of our world class medical facilities, or to give a speech as a forum, or to perform at a concert or as a cast member in a show on Broadway. 

There are many types of Temporary Visas.  A B-1/B-2 visa is a Visitor for Business or for Pleasure, there is also a Visitor for Medical reasons or a C-1 crewmen visa available to persons who come to the US in transit on luxury cruise liners such as Norwegian Cruise Line, there are E-visa for treaty traders and treaty investors coming to the US temporarily.  There is a temporary visa for almost every letter in the alphabet.

Some temporary visas require the person to file in the US, and others can be obtained directly from our US Consulates abroad.  Each temporary visa has different requirements, but the underlying criteria require that the foreign person show proof that he/she will only stay in the US on a temporary basis and will return to their home country at the end of the temporary visa, and that the foreign person is able to support him/herself while in the US, without working, if the visa does not permit US employment.

It is not always easy to get a temporary visa to the US.  There are many factors involved, including the country of origin.  Is it likely that a person will return to his/her country of origin at the end of their authorized stay in the US?

A K-1 Fiancé Visa is a temporary visa that allows a person to come to the US to marry a US citizen.  Our law firm can assist with many types of temporary visas.