About the documentation required for long term visas
When we file a petition for an artist, we have to prove two things to USCIS’s satisfaction: first, we have to prove that the artist is of sufficient caliber to be eligible for the requested visa. Second, we have to prove that the artist has legitimate employment in the U.S. (The documentation needed is discussed more thoroughly here.)
“P” visas for groups can last for up to a year, and “O” visas for individuals can last for up to three years. However, it is important that you understand that these long durations are never automatic. Visas will only last as long as you can demonstrate that you have a contractual need to be in the U.S. To secure a visa, we need to satisfy USCIS’s requirement for contractual evidence to support your duration request. There are a couple of ways we can do this:
(a) Performance contracts: USCIS can approve a petition based on proof that the artist has performance engagements contracted in the U.S. It is not necessary to have engagements contracted for every day of the visa duration you are seeking, and big gaps between engagements are usually not a problem, but you do need to at least show a contract at the beginning and at the end of the duration you are seeking, and it helps if you have some engagements in between. (Note that it is legal to add performances after the petition has been submitted and approved so long as they fall within the approved visa period.) IMPORTANT: DO NOT SEND FAKE CONTRACTS! USCIS telephones venues to check if contracts are real, and if a venue knows nothing about a show, your petition risks denial.
(b) A long-term contract with an “employer”: USCIS can approve a petition based on proof that the artist has a long term contractual relationship with a U.S. entity that requires the artist to be in the U.S. Although labels and talent agents do not typically see themselves as “employers,” if the artist has a long-running contractual relationship with a label or agent, let us know and we can discuss the viability of basing the visa duration on that contract.