The O-3 visa falls is a non-immigrant visa created to allow the spouses or unmarried children (under the age of 21) of O-1 or O-2 visa holders to accompany and/or visit the O-1 visa holder or O-2 visa holder in the United States. In this post, we will explore the O-3 visa and learn what is an O-3 visa and who it is best for in the United States.

O-3 Eligibility Requirements

O-3 visa applicants must meet the following requirements and provide evidence of such in their applications:

  • Be the immediate spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 of an O-1 or O-2 visa applicant or holder. 
  • Be able to prove the relationship with a main O-1 or O-2 visa holder through valid marriage or birth certificates or adoption documents.

There is another visa called the O-1A visa that may be applicable to your situation.

The O-3 Visa Timeline

The application process for the O-3 visa involves several steps that require careful preparation and attention to detail and the specific steps depend on whether the applicant is currently in the United States or outside of the United States

Applicants In The United States

If you are already inside the United States, he or she should apply by submitting a Form I-539 (Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status) at the same time the spouse or parent O-1 or O-2 visa holder applies for their visa. The O-1 or O-2 visa holder’s employer is also sponsoring the O-3 visa applicant as well. 

Applicants Outside Of The United States

You may choose to file at the same time the spouse or parent applies for the O-1 or O-2 visa, or wait until the visa is approved. The general steps are as follows

  • Submit DS-160
  • Pay the filing fees
  • Schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy in your country. All applicants between 14 and 79 are required to schedule and attend an interview.

You will also need the following documents:

  • Form I-797 approval notice (this is related to your spouse’s O1 visa)
  • Marriage or birth certificates proving relationship with the O-1 or O-2 visa holder
  • Copies of the O-1 or O-2 visa holder’s passport visa
  • Interview confirmation letter (provided by the USCIS)
  • Fee receipt copies of all payments made
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • Passport-like photos

WAIT Period: Whether you are filing from inside or outside the United States, there will be waiting involved. Once everything has been properly filed, USCIS will process your application and you will receive notice if your application was accepted or not. From this news, you will be able to determine your next steps.

Important: Please note that USCIS processing times can change frequently. To stay up-to-date on processing times, please refer to the USCIS website. 

O-3 Visa Filing Fees and Costs

USCIS and DOS filing fees for the O-3 visa are as follows:

Applicants filing inside the United States

  • Form I-539 (Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status): $370
  • Biometric fee: $85

Applicants filing Outside OF the United States

Important: Fees are subject to change by the U.S. government prior to case filing. Learn more here to see up-to-date USCIS fees.

FAQs For What Is An O-3 Visa

What is a non-immigrant visa vs. an immigrant visa?

Non-immigrant visas are for foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States on a temporary basis for things such as tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study, whereas an immigrant visa is issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States. An O-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa. 

What is the difference between an O-2 visa and an O-3 visa?

An O-2 visa is for individuals who are assisting an O-1 visa holder directly, whereas the O-3 visa is for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of O-1 and O-2 visa holders who want to come with or visit the O-1 or O-2 visa holder in the United States.

How long does an O-3 visa last?

The O-3 visa is dependent on the O-1 or O-2 holder’s visa. Since O-1 and O-2 visas are initially issued for 3 years, the validity of your O-3 visa will be 3 years.If the O-1 or O-2 visa holder applies for an extension, you can also file an extension by filing Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status).Extensions of the O-3 visa are typically granted in yearly increments.

Can I work in the United States with an O-3 visa?

No. O-3 visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States while holding an O-3 visa. However, if you want to work in the United States, you may be able to switch your visa to another visa that allows you to work if you meet the eligibility requirements for the specific visa. This means that if you find a job in the United States, you can apply to change your O-3 visa status to a different visa, such as the H-1B visa. If your change of status is approved, you will not be tied to the principal visa holder and can obtain work in the United States in line with the rules of the other visa.

Can I engage in study/schooling while on an O-3 visa?

Yes-an O-3 visa holder may attend school and other educational activities while in the United States on anO-3 visa, as long as the activities do not involve any form of paid employment.

What happens if my O-3 visa application is denied?

When an O-3 visa application is denied, the USCIS must notify you, the applicant, in writing of the reasons why the application was denied. This notice from the USCIS will also describe the appeal rights and the opportunity to file a motion to reopen or reconsider.

Conclusion For What Is An O-3 Visa

The O-3 visa allows the close family of O-1 and O-2 visa holders to travel with and visit the O-1 or O-2 visa holder while the O-1 or O-2 visa holder is working in the United States. Going through the application process is worth it if you wish to be able to spend time with your beloved O-1 or O-2 spouse or parent while they carry out their duties in the United States.