Visas for Visiting Artists

Q: Our U.S.-based non-profit is planning a concert in the fall of 2005 for which we want to invite musicians from India. Under what visa category can we sponsor their trip? While they are in the United States can they go on a performance tour and perform at other venues?

A: If you are planning to sponsor an enter-tainment group to perform as a unit based on the international reputation of the group, then you are looking at a P-1 classification. In addition, there is a P-3 category, which covers artists and entertainers, including groups that are coming to the United States to perform under a program that is “culturally unique.” If the artist or group will perform in multiple sites (e.g. a tour), an itinerary must be provided to USCIS at the time of the application. However, if you file an application listing only five sites and subsequently decided to assign the artist to a different location (e.g. a city is added to a U.S. tour), such a change will not require you to file an amended petition. The governing rules indicate that additional comparable performances or engagements may be added as long as it is during the validity period of the petition.

Our office was recently involved with filing the petition for Shaan (host of “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa”) and we used the P-3 option.

Q: I am a permanent resident of the United States. Do I need to carry my green card with me when I travel within the country?

A: My recommendation is that you should carry your green card at all times.

Q: My family will go to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi next week to get their V visa. After they receive their V visa is there a time limit within which they can enter the United States?

A: The V visa is available to the spouse and unmarried children under 21 of permanent residents. The applicant must show that he or she has been waiting for permanent residence for three years or more from the time USCIS received a second-preference petition filed on his or her behalf. The USCIS must have received the applicant’s petition on or before Dec. 21, 2000, but USCIS need not have approved the petition.

V visa holders are generally granted a period of admission not to exceed two years or the day before the applicant turns 21. Therefore, your family must enter the United States before the visa expires.

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** Priority Dates to Retrogress

As a final point, I want to remind readers of India Currents that priority dates for both family and employment categories will retrogress (move backwards) in 2005. The retrogression in employment-based categories for Indians could occur as early as January. Therefore, if you have an approved labor certification, you should seriously take the next step as soon as possible. File your adjustment of status application before the priority dates retrogress. If the dates retrogress before your application is filed, you and your family will not be able to obtain the employment authorization and will have to wait until your priority date is current. Please consult your attorneys at your earliest.

Immigration and business attorney Indu Liladhar-Hathi has an office in San Jose. (408) 294-7999.



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