As the expiration date for your artist visa nears you may want to extend your stay in the US. So much to do...deadline approaching...new projects on the horizon...it can feel like a lot but don’t stress, we’re here to support you through the process! When it comes to extending your artist visa, how you use your time on your initial visa will impact those to follow. You provided proof of your creative super powers a.k.a. extraordinary ability through the initial O-1B application process, now it’s time to share what you’ve been up to and demonstrate a clear continuance of your talents and reason or need for the extension.
“With great power there must also come great responsibility!” - Spiderman
To empower you, our client (and creative super-hero), towards the most successful outcome, we’ve put together a list of the top five items to keep in mind when applying for a visa extension.
1. Start your application early
Don’t procrastinate. We can’t stress this one enough. There are so many factors that are outside your control, give yourself extra time to allow for your application to go through the US immigration process. We recommend starting your extension four to six months before your current visa is set to expire to give yourself the most time and best possible advantage. The earlier the better!
2. Keep being awesome
That’s right, don’t stop being the exceptional creative talent that you are. Your talent will speak volumes about you. Talent brings work, work brings sponsorship and/or offers. Bookings demonstrate a need to continue working in the United States and basis for extending your stay.
3. Solidify your sponsor/petitioner (either a new relationship or existing)
As with your original artist visa application, your itinerary determines the length of stay in the US or in this case the amount of time that will be granted for your extension. The typical rule for a new sponsor relationship in terms of duration of the renewal is up to one year, for a continuation of your existing sponsorship a renewal could extend for up to three years. We often say that 80% of your effort and attention in the visa application process should be given to strengthening your artist-sponsor relationship. This is what drives the rationale and reason for extending your stay.
4. Check your impact (quality vs. quantity)
It’s not a hard or fast rule, however generally speaking what qualifies for an extension worthy event is often proof of working for companies with a distinguished reputation and/or the quality or robustness of your role within the company. All applications will be unique to the individual and are reviewed on a case by case basis, the important piece to remember here is that quality counts not just quantity or sheer number of engagements for an artist. For example, where you work (be it a name brand or boutique agency) may not be nearly as important as what you do (a.k.a. the impact you are making within your industry or chosen field). Be selective when it comes to the projects and engagements you accept and those you choose to work with.
5. Operate at the top of your game (track your accomplishments)
This relates largely to the updated resume portion of the renewal application. Maintain records of all your accomplishments as an artist to date and it will make the renewal process more manageable and avoid that panic of having to gather everything at once. Continue to operate at a high level by working with professionals and/or companies with strong reputations in your field. Select engagements that demonstrate you are using your artist visa to the best possible advantage allowing you to refine your skills and utilize your extraordinary ability.
A good rule of thumb, surround yourself with others that recognize your talent, support your growth as an artist and allow you to flex your creative muscles. When you are putting your creative super-powers to good use, it will be recognized. Keep being awesome and start your paperwork early. Organization, your talent and dedication to continuing to work at a high level is what will produce a successful outcome.
For more info or questions about extending your visit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.