In general, the O visa is issued to people who have special abilities in the fields of science, art, sports, and business. These people must be able to prove their abilities based on the credible evidence they provide. Those eligible for an O1 visa can bring their assistants to the United States under the O2 visa. The US O3 visa is also granted to their family members.
It should be noted that holders of O2 visas can also bring their spouses and children under the O3 visa to this country.

In this article, we’ll focus on the O3 permission, its requirements, the application process, the application fee, the renewal procedure, and the permission to work under this visa.

What is the O3 visa?

People traveling to the United States on an O1 or O2 visa can stay in the United States for up to three years. Under the O3 visa, they can also bring their family members to the United States. Family members mean spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Holders of an O3 visa can reside in the United States with their families. Besides, they can enroll in full or part-time studying courses. Holders of this visa can enter and leave the United States as long as their visa is valid. Holders of this visa can also open a bank account and have a driver’s license.

However, holders of this visa also face restrictions. For example, they are not allowed to work during their stay. Furthermore, holders of this visa cannot receive a Social Security Number.  If O-3 visa applicants want to work illegally, they not only jeopardize their visa validity but also endanger the status of the principal visa holder. On the other hand, they cannot stay in the country for more than the period of residence of the principal visa holder (O1 or O2).

What are the US O3 visa requirements?

Applicants for the O3 visa should consider the following:

  • Only spouses and single children under the age of 21 of holders of O1 and O2 visas are eligible to apply for a US O3 visa.
  • Applicants for O3 must prove their relationships with the primary visa holder by providing documents such as a birth certificate and marriage certificate.

What documents do you need to submit for an O3 visa?

The documents that applicants for the US O3 visa must provide are:

  • The online application form DS-160, which is required for the most nonimmigrant visas
  • A valid passport
  • Applicant’s photo, which should be in the size of 50 by 50 mm, in a plain white or off-white background
  • Receipt of payments
  • Form I-797 that is issued to the primary visa holder
  • The principal visa holder’s copy of the passport
  • The principal visa holder’s copy of the visa
  • Civil documents, including a birth certificate and marriage certificate to prove your relationship with the original visa holder

What is the application process for the O3 visa?

The steps for applying for an O3 visa are similar to other nonimmigrant visas. The only tip you need to consider is that you can apply for an O3 visa at the same time as the primary visa applicants. You can also apply after they obtain their permits. The steps for applying for an O-3 visa in the United States are:

1. Complete the online application form:  Filling out this online application form is mandatory for all nonimmigrant US visas, including the applicants for an O3 visa. To download and complete this form, please refer to the Consular Electronic Application Center website. This form contains some questions regarding the purpose of your trip as well as personal information. You need to complete all the necessary blanks accurately. After the submission of the form, a confirmation page, along with a barcode, appears that you must save it.

2. Pay the visa application fee: the application fee for this permission is around $190. Visa application fees are non-refundable. This means whether your application is rejected or confirmed, this fee will not be refunded to you. Also, note that your visa application will not be processed unless you pay this fee. Citizens of some countries may also have to pay for visa issuance. It depends on your country’s relationship with the United States. After paying your application fee, you will receive a receipt that you must keep because you will need it in the next steps.

3. Schedule the visa interview appointment: All applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must attend a visa interview. If you are applying with the primary visa holder, then you can plan the interview together at the same time. Otherwise, you need to schedule your interview. After you have made this appointment, you will obtain a confirmation letter that you need to bring on the day of your interview.

4. Prepare documents: You need to prepare all the mentioned documents in the previous section.
5. Attend an interview: On the interview day, you must bring some documents with you. You will be asked some questions about your background, education, and the purpose of your trip to the United States. You must talk about your relationship with the principal visa holder. If you are dependents of O2 visa holders, you must also prove your bond to your home country because you are not allowed to reside permanently in the United States.

How long do you need to wait to process your documents and issue the visa?

The applicants for O visas must usually wait for at least two or three months to be aware of the result of their application. We recommend you do not make any traveling arrangements, such as buying your flight tickets, before you are absolutely sure that you have been approved for the visa.

How long is this visa valid?

The defined condition for this visa depends on the condition of the principal visa holders. Because the principal visa holder can stay in the United States for up to three years, applicants for this visa can also stay in the United States as long as they are in the United States. Once the holder of the principal visa has renewed his/her visa, the holders of the O3 visa can also extend their stay in the United States.

How can the O3 visa be extended?

Whenever the holder of an O1 or O2 visa applies for a visa extension, the holders of the O3 visa can do the same. To extend the visa, Form I-539, Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status, must be completed. The visa is renewed for one year, and there are no restrictions on the number of renewals.

Can the holders of this visa change the status of their visa?

Yes. They can apply to change their current visa to another nonimmigrant status for which they are eligible. For instance, if they can find a job offer in the US, they can apply for an appropriate work visa, such as an H1-B visa. In this situation, they no longer depend on the O1 or O2 visa holders.

Can the US O3 visa holders apply to get a Green Card?

If O1 visa holders apply for a Green Card and qualify for the EB-1 Green Card because of their extraordinary talent, their family members can also apply for a residence permit. Because in the process of applying for an O2 visa, applicants must prove that they will return to their home country and do not intend to reside permanently in the United States, they cannot apply for a Green Card. Therefore, their family members who come to the United States on an O3 visa cannot apply for a Green Card. If they want to apply for US residency, they must first change their visa status to another visa, such as H1B, and then apply for a Green Card. Visas such as H1B are dual intent. This means that holders of these visas can apply directly for a Green Card.

Let’s sum up …

In this article, we have reviewed the requirements of the O-3 visa, how to apply, the cost of the application, and how to extend and work permit. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.

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  1. Avril says:

    Hey there. Is an O3 visa extendable in the US?

    • Support says:

      Hello there. Thanks for leaving a comment on our website. Yes, indeed. The North America O3 can be extended for one year. However, there are restrictions on the number of renewals.

      • Lul says:

        Hello, if the o1 holder is having a new employer the o3 holder have to do a new application that would be the DS-160? Instead of the extension? And how the o1 can add the o3 on their new application form?

        • Max says:

          Dear Lul,
          If an O-1 visa holder changes employment, the O-3 visa holder is not required to submit a new DS-160 application; nevertheless, the O-1 visa holder’s new employer is required to file a new or revised petition with USCIS in compliance with DHS rules, and USCIS form instructions. By entering their names in the proper portions of the petition, the O-1 visa holder can include their O-3 dependents in their new application form.

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