The Complete Guide to O-1 Dependent Visas

The Complete Guide to O-1 Dependent Visas

Do you have a family member with an active O-1 or O-2 visa or someone who is trying to get these visas? Well, if so, you might be successful in securing an O-1 dependent visa for yourself.

This article will go over all the important details related to the O-1 dependent visa.

What Is an O-1 Dependent Visa?

The O-1 dependent visa, also called the O-3 visa, is a visa designed especially for the spouses and children of O-1 or O-2 visa holders. An O-3 visa holder can technically spend the same amount of time in the United States as an O-1 or O-2 visa holder, which is 3 years at a stretch. However, one can apply for unlimited extensions.

Although an unlimited number of O-3 visas can be provided each year, O-3 visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States.

Who Is Eligible for an O-1 Dependent Visa?

Although the family members of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder may qualify for an O-3 visa, not all family members can qualify for this visa. Only the unmarried children and spouse of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder can apply for this visa and live in the U.S.

This means O-1 and O-2 visa holders cannot bring their parents or other close relatives to the U.S. That said, O-3 visa holders can stay in the U.S. for as long as the principal visa person is in the country. During their stay in the U.S., they are allowed to open bank accounts and get a driver’s license and can lead a normal life. They can even enroll in part-time or full-time study courses in the U.S. if needed.

However, the only restriction is that they cannot work in the U.S, and cannot get a social security number (SSN).

Eligibility Criteria for Getting an O-1 Dependent Visa

As mentioned above, the foremost requirement to secure an O-3 visa is that the applicant must be an immediate family member of the O-1 or O-2 visa holder or applicant. Add to that, the applicant must be ‘clean’ or else he or she might not be allowed to enter into the U.S. if they have a criminal record associated with them.

Required Documents for an O-3 Visa

In order to get an O-3 visa, you need to produce and present certain documents to the authorities. These include:

  • Birth or marriage certificate to reflect your relationship with the O-1 visa holder
  • A colored photo, recent and professionally by the photographer
  • A copy of the O-1 or O-2 visa approval notice of your spouse or Form I-129 of your parent
  • A document to prove that you have completed State Department Form DS-160

O-1 Dependent Visa Application Process

The entire process of applying for an O-1 dependent visa is easy. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Before applying for the O-3 visa, you will need to wait until the O-1 visa process of your parent or spouse is initiated by their U.S. employer.
  • If you are already in the U.S. (lawfully), you can apply for an O-1 dependent visa simultaneously.
  • If you are not in the U.S., you will have to wait until your petition is approved.
  • Next, apply for the O-1 dependent visa by getting approval from your nearest U.S. consulate.
  • The best bet is to make sure the O-1 visa application of your parent or spouse is approved

How Much Does an O-3 Visa Cost?

To get an O-3 visa, you are required to pay a visa petition fee to the USCIS (this is ideally paid by the employer). Add to that, you also need to pay a machine-readable visa (MRV) processing fee to the U.S. consulate. All these fees cannot be refunded, no matter what the circumstances are. In addition to these two fees, there is an additional fee called a visa reciprocity fee, but whether or not you have to pay it depends on the arrangements between your native country and the U.S.

O-3 Visa Extension

Generally, an O-3 visa is granted only for a period up to three years, or alternatively, it is granted for the period corresponding to the duration of the corresponding O-1 or O-2 visa. You may get extentions in increments of one year on your O-1 or O-2 visa by the USCIS. That said, corresponding visa extensions are also provided to the O-3 visa holders.

Can O-3 Visa Holders Become U.S. Permanent Residents?

Let’s make things very clear: attaining an O-3 visa does not translate into a green card. However, once you are in the U.S., you may make use of various opportunities. Your parent or spouse might develop the required connections and they might end up qualifying for a green card based on their employment.

It is highly recommended to get in touch with an experienced immigration lawyer to have a closer look at the entire process.

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The Wrap Up

The O-1 dependent visa, or O-3 visa, relies heavily on the corresponding O-1 or O-2 visa it is based on. To be eligible for an O-3 visa you have to be a child or spouse of an O-1 or O-2 visa holder. An O-3 visa cannot on its own translate into a green card, but the possiblity of the O-1 or O-2 visa holder obtaining one is real, and that could mean the O-3 visa holder would benefit as well.

Got any queries? Let us know in the comments below.

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