H-2B Visas for Entertainment Workers

Cambridge immigration attorneysEntertainers and the various workers who support their acts must apply to work in the U.S. through one of three means. O and P visas are only for the more well-known entertainers; therefore, if an entertainer is less known, the only avenue is the H-2B visa. Numerous issues arise when foreign entertainment industry workers apply to work in this country, and generally it is a good idea to work with an immigration attorney to address the challenges.

Temporary and Available

The key issues lesser-known entertainers and industry workers face in obtaining H2-B visas are how temporary the job is, and whether American workers are available to fill the positions. It should be noted from the outset that labor unions and other entities are generally reluctant to break up touring groups and the workers who accompany them, so each of these individuals generally will not have much difficulty in obtaining the H-2B.


The issue of how temporary a job is would not seem a difficult one, but it can pose challenges. Cambridge immigration attorneys will discern how well a job fits the rule for temporariness, but some of the most pertinent factors are:

  • Is the job a nightclub act? If, for instance, an entertainer books to work at a nightclub for ten days, the job is not really considered temporary in most cases, given that the nightclub is not temporary.
  • On the other hand, if the entertainer is on tour, or is shooting a movie, these are by nature always temporary, so an H-2B may be obtained.


The immigration attorney will also need to help the client determine whether American workers are available for the position. This generally requires obtaining a clearance from the Department of Labor. When one files for H-2B status, the application must be made with the State Workforce Agency (SWA). The SWA will then contact the relevant entertainment union to determine whether any U.S. workers are available, or if some other objection exists to the foreign act being allowed temporary worker status.

Ultimately, the offer to employ the entertainment worker must come from a U.S. employer. A foreign company cannot hire an individual to work here on an H-2B. This employer must not be in name only, but must act in that capacity in all aspects.

If You Need Assistance with an Immigration Issue

If you are applying for temporary worker status, it is important to understand all that is necessary in order to qualify. For assistance with immigration matters, call an immigration attorney at Ionson Law at (781) 674-2562.

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