Ask the U.S. Consul – June 2018


I’m a local artiste asked to perform at a show in August.  I have a valid B1/B2 visa; can I use this visa to perform in the United States?


Trinidad and Tobago is a country with many talented artists, performers, and athletes. One question that the U.S. Embassy receives quite regularly concerns the proper kind of visa for an artist or an athlete who wants to use their talents in a professional situation in the United States.

By far the most common visa category that Trinbagonians apply for here is the B1/B2 visa that can be used for tourism or limited business activities but which generally does not allow the traveler to work while in the United States.

There are various classifications of nonimmigrant visas for a person wishing to work temporarily in the United States, based on U.S immigration laws.   If you want to work or perform in the U.S. temporarily, you need a specific visa based on the purpose of your travel and type of work you will be doing.

Performers, including athletes, actors and musicians who intend to perform in the U.S. – whether for pay or for free – usually need to apply for a performer visa with the classification of ‘P’ or ‘O’.

Even if you already have a valid tourist visa, you will likely need a performer visa to carry out these activities in the U.S.

The process of applying for a performer visa is more complex than for a tourist visa, and requires coordination with a sponsor in the United States. In order to obtain a temporary worker visa, your sponsor in the United States must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Please visit their website for detailed information about this process:

Once the petition is approved, you will receive an approval notice.  Only after this notice is received can you proceed to apply for the relevant non-immigrant visa at the Embassy.

This requires completion of the DS 160, online registration, application fee payment at Scotiabank and your attendance at the visa interview.  For more information on the nonimmigrant visa application process, please visit our website at

Please note that cellular phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the waiting area, so these items should be secured elsewhere prior to arrival. Applicants will be allowed in no more than 15 minutes prior to the appointment, so there is no need to arrive early.

If you have questions about the proper visa classification and the types of activities you can perform on each category of visa, visit Specific inquiries can be sent via email to