Complying with the procedures of the American visa application can be confusing for many types of applicants. One type is the Social Media Influencer. These individuals are typically well-known personalities on social media platforms such as Youtube or Instagram who have gained large followings due to their content creation skills and charisma. After gaining worldwide notoriety, these influencers often consider traveling abroad in order to grow their personal brand by networking with other digital stars and attending popular conferences devoted to emerging technology or entrepreneurship. While you can relax knowing that there are no required minimum follower counts for this category, if you want to become an influencer yourself, it certainly helps! The process itself is not too difficult. However, there are several requirements that must be met in order to successfully obtain a travel visa or permit. Keep reading to learn about these requirements and how you can apply for your American visa.
- Do I qualify for an American Travel Visa?
How long will it take me to get my visa?
There is no specific requirement on the number of followers needed to obtain a visa; however, this does not mean that having more fans is irrelevant. On Instagram, if you start posting regularly (once every few days), within one year you should see consistent growth in your posts’ engagement rates (likes per follower). Depending on how good your content is, this could translate into hundreds of thousands of followers! This is not just a number though. These individuals can definitely be influential and offer great potential to connect with their audiences in the United States and help promote U.S. tourism or business interests. The influencer should have a significant social media following in order to demonstrate an ability to disseminate information about U.S. businesses, products, and services in a positive way via their social network(s).
- Once I get my visa, do I need to register for ESTA?
How long will processing take?
The easiest way for Influencers to gain access to the USA is by applying for an O-visa. This type of travel permit can be issued as either one-time entry permits or multi-entry permits valid for 3 years. Either way, the application process is quick while requiring less documentation than other types of visas.
- How much does it cost to apply for an American visa?
Here are several requirements that you should meet in order to be eligible for applying for an O-visa:
The Influencer should have a significant role in the organization. They should either manage their daily operations or oversee their strategic direction. The business should create products or services that benefit both U.S. customers and businesses (if it is involved in e-commerce). Additionally, the company must employ at least two full-time workers. These individuals will be considered essential employees who directly contribute to the successful operation of the business activities. The influencer’s salary cannot exceed $150,000 per year.
You will need to complete the application form designated by USCIS. You can find it here. An interview with a consular officer is required in order for your visa to be approved. Be sure to provide ALL documentation according to the checklist detailed on this page for an efficient and effective process. Please note that a separate fee applies for each type of permit you request (e.g., single-entry vs. multi-entry).
- How can I apply?
While applying for your O-visa, you must submit the following:
A business letter from the applicant’s sponsoring employer that details their role and employment with the company as well as information about its activities such as location and financial status. A resume or curriculum vitae detailing your work history and educational background. A letter from the business’ sponsoring employer describing the traveler’s job position, duration of employment, annual salary, and responsibilities. Business documents such as tax returns, audited financial statements, balance sheets, and profit & loss reports prove that the U.S. company is operating legitimately with a significant number of American employees. You have no criminal records in any country other than Canada or The United States. This cannot be a family member living with you as a dependent on your visa application.
An official invitation from an American host includes The flight dates for entry into and departure from the USA. Proof that he/she has invited you to enter his/her premises for an indefinite period of time. A letter of invitation from the host stating his/her intention to cooperate with you during your stay in the USA and inviting you as a business partner.
A letter from a representative of a U.S. business that has an interest in your visit, which includes: The purpose of your travel to the United States including details about meeting dates and locations if applicable. A description of how they will be cooperated by your visit. Details on why their type of work cannot be accomplished without your presence (i.e., direct involvement, consultations).
Proof that you possess skills that are uniquely needed by American businesses or organizations. These skills should not be taught in schools or universities within the U.S. If this is not applicable, you must submit proof that you have the necessary experience in the area of expertise for which you are applying.
Proof showing your intention to depart out of the USA at the end of your stay. This can be any combination of plane, rail, or ship tickets or itineraries, accompanied by an exit or onward bound ticket (e.g., return trip to Canada).
- Who is eligible?
An O-1 visa is ideal for professionals with extraordinary ability in some fields; this includes athletes, artists, and entertainers, as well as individuals who seek temporary entry into the United States for work within their respective fields. To qualify, applicants should prove they possess sustained national or international acclaim under one of three categories:
A very high level of achievement in their field of expertise; A demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in their field over many years; Their work is recognized within the international community as being outstanding.
U.S. organizations can apply for O-1 visas for professionals who possess “extraordinary abilities” that are not easily found in the country’s workforce, making them vital to that specific organization. To prove this, applicants must provide evidence illustrating how they stand out from other individuals working in the same profession.
Individuals applying for an O-1 visa should be able to demonstrate how they meet at least three of these 10 criteria: Receipt of a major internationally recognized award or prize (e.g., Nobel Prize) Membership in associations requiring members to demonstrate outstanding achievements, such as the Academy Awards and the entertainment industry unions. Published material in professional publications, newspapers, or trade journals about the alien’s work in their field of expertise. Participating in a panel, seminar, lecture series, or exhibition involving members of their profession. Original contributions to their field have had a significant impact on the academic discipline. Serving a critical role for organizations requiring contracts with leading organizations in the field. Receiving critical acclaim for their work within the professional field that has had a demonstrable impact on major publications or organizations. Employing unique or original techniques in their profession which is widely recognized and acknowledged by other members in the industry. Significant achievement in motion picture, television, theater, radio, literary, musical, artistic, or business industry fields.
For more information, you may ask or consult with immigration lawyers in Houston.