I am a local artist invited to perform at the Miami Carnival celebrations in October 2022. I have heard that appointments are only available in 2023. Will I be able to get an expedited visa? Can I use my B1/B2 visa to perform?
Answer: Congratulations on the invitation to showcase your talent in Miami. Entertainers from across the world, including Trinidad and Tobago, must travel to the United States on visas for artists and entertainers known as “O” and “P” work visas. These visa categories require an I-797 petition form to work, perform, and receive income in the United States.
For example, Trinbagonian artists should have a valid O or P work visa to perform at Miami Carnival, to DJ at restaurants or bars, or go on tour promoting new music, even if these performances are done without remuneration. Performing for free is still considered performing and requires an O or P visa.
Petitions are filed through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, the applicant will receive an approval notice. After receiving the approval notice, an applicant can apply for the relevant non-immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy.
For detailed information about the non-immigrant visa application process, please visit http://trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com.
Nonimmigrant visa applicants are required to complete the DS-160 electronic application form, register for the service online, pay the application fee in person at a local Scotiabank, schedule an appointment, and attend a visa interview.
There is no online payment option to submit the application fee. Applicants are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information on the DS-160 form. Please be careful with personal and banking information and be wary of possible scammers.
A visa applicant may submit a request to have the appointment expedited if the selected interview date falls after the proposed travel date. These requests must be submitted via the online applicant profile. Do not email or call contacts or the Embassy for expedite requests as this will only delay the applicant’s case.
While the Consular Section may approve an expedited appointment request, visa processing cannot be expedited. If a visa is approved, passports are returned in 7 to 10 working days through DHL.
Nonimmigrant “B1//B2” visas are generally issued for tourism purposes. In very limited instances, entertainers can utilize the tourist or B/1/B2 visa to participate in cultural programs fully sponsored by the government of Trinidad and Tobago and for a non- paying audience. These situations are extremely rare and will be made known to the applicant. Do not perform in the United States on a B1/B2 visa without express permission.
The Consular Section takes the opportunity to remind prospective applicants that working on a B1/B2 visa while in the United States is prohibited. Repercussions include the revocation of existing visas and future denials for visas.
As a reminder, cellular phones and other electronic devices, bags, and liquids are not allowed into the consular waiting area. These items should be secured elsewhere prior to the applicant’s arrival as Embassy personnel do not have the capacity to store prohibited items.
For more information on the nonimmigrant visa application process, please visit trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com.