By: Tolani Law
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How Do Entertainment Visas Work?
Immigration law scenario involving entertainment visas:
A married couple are in the U.S. legally from a foreign country. Spouse A is an entertainer with an O-1B visa, who has come to the U.S. to perform. Spouse B is only accompanying Spouse A the entertainer, and is in the U.S. on an O-3 visa.
While Spouse A is performing, Spouse B finds and works at a non-entertainment job and earns a paycheck. Spouse B asks the employer to write the check out to a friend, so that the friend can cash it for Spouse B. The friend now refuses to give the cash to Spouse B, stating that the money was earned illegally. Spouse B took this as a threat of blackmail.
Spouse B is afraid to tell the police that the friend is refusing to give the cash, because Spouse B believes that the paycheck was earned in violation of immigration law and Spouse B is worried about the immigration consequences.
What can the couple do?
Since Spouse B is legally in the U.S. with an O-3 visa for accompanying spouse of an entertainer, Spouse B is not allowed to work in the United States. There are also no work permits available for those with O-3 visas. If Spouse B wanted to work legally in the U.S., Spouse B would have to seek out employment and obtain a work visa (H-1) through an employer.
Since Spouse B has worked without authorization, it is a violation of immigration law, which renders Spouse B susceptible to removal (deportation) from the U.S.
However, Spouse B may have been the victim of a crime, and there are protections under U.S. immigration law for legal and undocumented/illegal immigrants who have been victims of crimes. Spouse B may be eligible for the U non-immigrant visa, based on the crimes of blackmail and/or extortion.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information on this blog may not apply to every jurisdiction and/or blog reader. You should not take, or refrain from taking, any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking legal counsel.