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Ask Bob Blume – Column #18 – Discussion about Artist Visas with Immigration Attorney, Steve Maggi, Esq.

Ask Bob Blume – Column #18 – Discussion about Artist Visas with Immigration Attorney, Steve Maggi, Esq.

Bob Blume talent manager and producer introduced today’s guest tnoted immigration attorney, Steve Maggi of SMA Lawyers, hoping to enlighten viewers on the details surrounding Artist Visas.

He reminded viewers that the column is a benefit for The Actors Fund covid 19 relief effort and asked for donations from those who could afford it.

An 0-1 Visa, allows foreign performers to work in the United States.

Steve Maggi

Steve’s credentials as an immigration attorney started when he was born to parents who are both artists in born in Bariloche, Argentina. Growing up in Argentina and part Hispanic, Steve speaks fluent Spanish. His mom was a painter and his dad a writer and if Steve had not become a lawyer, he would have been a singer. He is sympathetic to foreign talent. His favorite type of immigration cases are 0-1 and EB-1 extraordinary artistic ability visa cases.

He has helped countless artists from around the world to realize their dreams of performing and recording in the United States.

Taking over the conversation, Steve stated he would not bore everyone with what they could find on the internet. Not everyone understands that the qualifications for an artist visa mean satisfying very clear and distinct categories for our government.

Of the 6 distinct categories, the artist visa applicant must qualify for at least 3 of those categories.

The categories have to do with performances that they have already accomplished. Applicants need to have an established track record as an artist. 

The next step to qualify means they must have recognition by their peers and the media at being at the “top of their field.” This is the precise language the government wants to see.

Usually, these achievements have been accomplished in their home countries and many have never even been to the US. Each applicant must find a sponsor here in the US and be lucky enough to find companies like Step Forward Entertainment that will sponsor them. Without a sponsor, there is NO VISA.

An artist visa applicant will then have to qualify in 3 of those 6 categories under the immigration laws.  

One category specifies a lead performance in a production.  

Another category is a proven track record or experience working with a specific production company. Again they must have performed a lead role in more than one production.

To back this up there must be media coverage. Reviews, articles about the artist themselves are what us required. If an applicant has no media coverage then THERE IS NO CHANCE THEY WILL GET AN 0-1 ARTIST VISA!

If you don’t have the media, you can work with a PR company to establish that criteria. If they do their job and promote your performances in your area of expertise then you will satisfy this requirement.

The final requirement is to get letters of expertise from respected people in your field. Name performers, producers, agents, etc. who will testify to your extraordinary ability. 

Note: In the video, what was not discussed, was that not only do you need a sponsor, but they have to either guarantee work or hire the applicant in their specific skill set, or in the case of a sponsor being a talent rep (Step Forward Entertainment), client must have potential job offer letters covering the entire period of time the the visa is for.  This will be covered in the next visit by Steve to our column.

Steve and Bob talked about how a Bollywood star in India would probably qualify for an 0-1 Visa, with Steve further emphasizing the importance of major media and reviews.

Bob met Steve through a mutual client 8 years ago. Together, they have successfully sponsored a large number of artists for work in the US. 

If you are an artist in need of Steve’s services, you should contact him at his website or his office. 

In addition to Steve’s NY office, he has just opened an office in Tampa – St. Petersburg, Florida area to focus on the many Latin artists currently performing in the southern area of the US. 

Bob also mentioned that Steve would return to speak about Green Cards and Artist Visa renewals.

Link to Steve Maggi’s website smalawyers.com

Bob Blume’s company site is www.StepForwardEntertainment.com 

To Donate to The Actors Fund: www.actorsfund.org/stepforward

To Send in a question: askbobblume@gmail.com

To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns

Film

Ask Bob Blume is a new twice-weekly Video Column giving career advice to actors/performers of all ages, who are either current professionals or looking to enter show business. The column will offer free advice, and answer questions from viewer emails by Robert R Blume (aka Bob) a respected veteran entertainment talent manager and producer. As the President of the bi-coastal talent management and production company Step Forward Entertainment, Bob currently oversees the careers of professional actors/singers/dancers/reporters, as well as serving as an Executive Producer of the Annual DRAMA DESK AWARDS (the “Golden Globes” of theatre) from 1999 until 2018. To submit questions: AskBobBlume@gmail.com For information on Bob: StepForwardEntertainment.com / RobertRBlume.com

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