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O1 & O3 journey from start to finish

O1 & O3 journey from start to finish

Old Aug 30th 2019, 3:24 pm
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Default O1 & O3 journey from start to finish

Today my husband received his second O1 visa, and I received my second O3 visa. I've read many threads on this website before but I have never posted. After the relief of finally receiving our visas today, I felt compelled to 'give back' to this community, in the hope that our story will help others during their visa journeys.

My husband is a film and television director. He has directed for the likes of HBO and Channel 4. His work has been screened at festivals including Tribeca and South By South West. He has received a few industry awards, and he has had dozens of articles written about the projects that he has directed. In other words, he had a pretty strong case. With the assistance of our immigration lawyer, we compiled 10 letters of recommendation from prominent people in the industry, 6 deal memos for work he had been offered in the US, an itinerary outlining 3 years worth of work in the US, a highly detailed CV (17 pages to be exact), and evidence proving that everything on his CV actually happened. Compiling all of this was, without exaggeration, like a part time job. It took approximately 7 weeks. Our lawyer filed my husband's petition via premium processing (where a decision is reached within 15 days), and on day 8 of premium processing he was approved. It was awesome to hear back so quickly. We heard back regarding his first O1 on day 14 which I remember being an agonising wait. Neither his first nor second O1 had an RFE (request for further evidence).

The next step involved both of us completing separate DS-160 forms online. The form is lengthy and annoying. Be sure to frequently press the save button as you very quickly get timed out and have to login again. I also recommend downloading your completed form at that end, as having a copy of our DS-160 form from the first time we filed our O1/O3 visas would have helped the second time around.

We then went on to book a joint London US Embassy interview via the website. To our surprise, the website informed us that we were eligible for the interview waiver program. This meant that it was not necessary for us to attend an in-person interview, and that we could courier the necessary documents to them, and have our visas processed in approximately 10 working days. We believe that we were given this option because this was our second O1/O3. My husband had a directing gig that started in the US in sooner than 10 working days, so we took a chance, and opted for an in-person interview instead, in the hopes of getting everything processed sooner. This could have ended up being a colossal mistake as we then went on to find out that the earliest available London US Embassy appointment was a month away. Very luckily for us, O1 visa holders are eligible for expedited appointments under special circumstances. We applied for an expedited appointment on the website, and thankfully it was approved in less than 24 hours. For anyone out there who is offered the interview waiver program, if you can wait 10 working days for your visa to be processed, I highly recommend that you take this route, as it completely eliminates the stress of an in-person interview.

The next step was the embassy interview. Here is the full extent of the interview:

Officer to husband: Is this your first O1 visa?
Husband: No, it's my 2nd.
Officer to husband: What do you do?
Husband: I'm a filmmaker.
Officer to me: Is this your first O3 visa?
Me: No, it's my 2nd.
Officer to me: Can I see your marriage certificate please?
Me: Sure thing (hands over certificate).
Officer to both of us: Ok your visas are approved. You'll receive an email in around a week when your passports are ready to be collected.

That's it. With pauses for typing between questions, the entire interview took 4mins (we timed it). We departed the embassy 2 hours after arriving due to all of the security checks, queuing and waiting around.

So that was a simplified retelling of our second O1 and O3 journey. The entire process took approximately 11 weeks. I truly hope that someone finds this useful. If you are just starting, or are part way through your US visa journey, I wish you all the very best!
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Old Aug 30th 2019, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: O1 & O3 journey from start to finish

Well the process is not over yet, next step is AP which hopefully will be short for you but is an unknown and then they send the Passport and Visa which concludes the matter. The usual time seems to be about a week for AP, printing, delivery etc, in ye olden days you would have walked out with it.
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