Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Talent Agents – US Work Authorization for Foreign Talent


Are You Ready for Hollywood? Do You Have a US Immigration Plan? 

It is rare for an American TV Network or Movie Studio to consider hiring foreign entertainment professionals who do not have a long-term visa to work in the United States, therefore it is important for such professionals to have US Work Authorization plans in place long before joining an American production. Having an agent in the United States, in many cases, is the key to securing not only work in the US film industry, but also a visa legalize that work. It is our goal to educate not only talent but the agents as well who may be interested in broadening their clientele to include individuals from other countries.

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Hollywood is the film capital of the world, and while there are more worldwide opportunities in the industry than ever before, being able to work in Hollywood is often critical to the careers of entertainment professionals.

We specialize in helping international talent acquire US Work Authorization and with more than a decade’s worth of experience, we’re very much used to working under pressure and against deadlines. It is true that US Immigration can be a maze, so we wanted to take the time to discuss a couple options that are a perfect fit for international talent.

O1 Visa – The Starting Point

The O1-B Visa was created for high-achieving artists and film and television professionals coming to the United States to work on specific projects. If you can satisfy 3 of 7 categories, and show specific projects that you will be working on in the United States, this visa is for you. It has a quick turnaround, and can be issued for up to three years and renewed yearly, as long as you continue to have work in the United States.

In fact, the O1-B Visa is the most common visa used by entertainment professionals coming to work in the United States for specific projects, and many have considered it the best solution to US Immigration for the art and entertainment industries. However, there are some huge limitations to the O1 Visa:

  • An applicant must have a specific project lined up in the United States,
  • Applicants are required to renew the visa as often as every year and at least every three years, and
  • TV Networks and Movie Studios are hesitant to hire talent until their US Visa is secured.
  • Note: Sometimes the Networks will not hire anyone on an O-1B visa.

So, if you need to have a job lined up in order to secure the visa, and producers are looking to make sure you have a visa before they offer you a job, things can get confused quickly and you can be stuck on the outside looking in – literally! That is why we recommend trying to build your portfolio to qualify for the EB1 Green Card.


EB1 Green Card – The Permanent Solution 

At first glance, the requirements for the EB1 Green Card do not look much different than those listed for the O1 Visa. If you can satisfy 3 of 10 categories, then you are granted an EB1 Green Card and given the ability to permanently work and reside in the United States. However, the requirements are a little more strict for the Green Card option, and applicants will be subject to a higher level of scrutiny because the benefit conferred is so much greater.

That being said, we firmly believe that anyone who has qualified for an O1 Visa is extremely close to being able to qualify for the EB1 Green Card. The EB1 Green Card process is fairly straightforward and can be finished in a matter of months, but we are willing to work at your pace. Once an EB1 Green Card is secured, entertainment professionals can apply to work for any production in the United States and do not have to be concerned about navigating the immigration maze.

So, if you are a Talent Agent reading this article or you know of anyone who is currently on an O-1B visa, we’re about 99% sure we can transition them successfully into an EB1 Green Card. We work with numerous O-1B visas holders to convert them to EB1 Green Card holders. We work with a lot of clients who initially were interested in an O-1B visa but after consulting with us, we’re able to get them into an EB1 green card before they even leave their home country. So, they literally enter the US with their green cards. As you can imagine, when you enter the US with your green card your employment opportunities are 1000% better.

Our firm has helped secure EB1 Green Cards for several film and television professionals, here are a few examples —

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 1.44.42 PMJason started as a runner on film productions in the UK and built a successful career in the UK that allowed him to begin working on US productions with an O1 Visa (with the help of our firm), after which were able to secure an EB1 Green Card. What prompted Jason to decide to make the jump from the O1 Visa to the EB1 Green Card was a desire to provide more opportunities for his sons to build a life in the United States while he worked on film productions. Jason was kind enough to film a testimonial for us, so you can hear more about his story here. Just recently, we took care of Jason’s US Citizenship and now his whole family are US Citizens.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 1.51.36 PMAfter graduation, Isabelle started out as an intern in a Los Angeles talent agency working in music management in Los Angeles. Before long,  and true to the American Dream, Isabelle won a Grammy based on her work with Gnarls Barkley. We were able to help Isabelle secure an EB1 Green Card solely on the fact that her client had won a Grammy. Isabelle went straight for an EB1 green card and got it without first having an O-1B visa.

You can learn more about her story here.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 2.32.35 PMJen worked in the editorial department for “The Hobbit” trilogy and as an Animation Coordinator for Weta Digital in New Zealand. Jen decided she wanted to continue building her career in the United States and thus while she was in New Zealand we were able to secure an EB1 Green Card. Most impressively, she became our youngest ever client to secure an EB1 Green Card, accomplishing this feat at the age of 23. Find out more about her story here. Today, Jen is leaving the American Dream and working with one of the major film studios in LA. Not bad, from New Zealand to LA.

Check out our full EB1 Approvals Gallery for more stories about entertainment professionals and other EB1 Green Card clients.

Get Started Today!

We believe that every film and television professional who aspires to work in Hollywood productions should be working towards their EB1 Green Card today. No matter where you are in your career, you can get started today by contacting us for a free consultation!

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292

Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.

Please note that nothing contained in this website or link therefrom shall be regarded as providing legal advice. Please contact us directly for legal advice specific to your situation. Thank You.

Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.

Important Notice: Please note that all videos created by the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram are intended as general information only and not specific legal advice pertaining your case. If you would like specific legal advice on any immigration matter please do not hesitate to contact this law office accordingly. All pictorial images used in these videos and the website in general are licensed stocked images and not portraits, or otherwise, of anyone from the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram, nor of its clients unless otherwise indicated by name. All images are used solely for illustrative purposes only. Copyright 2010-2015 All Rights Reserved.