Did Prince Harry get an O-1 ‘extraordinary ability’ visa to stay in America & work?

The Duke Of Sussex Attends The Opening Match Of The ICC Cricket World Cup

Since this time last year, there’s been a conversation in the British papers about the immigration status of Prince Harry in America. Last year, the British media was almost gleeful at the idea that Donald Trump could – in their mind – personally kick Harry out of the country and that Harry would have to crawl back to Britain and apologize for the crime of marrying a Black American woman. As we’ve crossed the one-year mark of Harry & Meghan’s big move to California, I suppose it is still interesting to think about what’s actually going on with Harry’s status. Did he apply for a green card? Did he come to this country on a visa? According to the Daily Mail (an outlet which knows f–k all), Harry is in America under a work visa for people of “extraordinary ability.”

Prince Harry could be working in the US on a visa designed for people with ‘extraordinary ability’, experts said yesterday. Canadian singer Justin Bieber and Australian actor Hugh Jackman have used the O-1 visa which lasts up to three years. The Duke of Sussex, 36, now has two jobs and TV and radio projects in the US, prompting many to question how he obtained a visa. As a British citizen, Harry was not automatically entitled to seek employment after moving to California last year with American wife Meghan, 39.

He could have applied for a green card, but this comes with significant income tax implications and can take up to 21 months to process.

The O-1 visa website says it is for ‘an individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognised nationally or internationally’.

Harry’s work with Invictus Games for injured servicemen could potentially qualify him. And his recent interview with Oprah Winfrey certainly earned millions for the TV industry. O-1 visa approval can take just weeks and finding a US citizen to serve as a referee would not have been a problem – Harry’s friends include ex-President Barack Obama.

Immigration expert Doug Lightman, of Lightman Law in New York, said: ‘Harry would have no problem getting the O-1 because he’s a prince. ‘He’s travelled all over the world… and there is his work with Invictus. It’s going to be enough to qualify him.’

But it is not yet known which visa Harry is on. His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

[From The Daily Mail]

I’m no kind of immigration expert, I am merely the anchor baby of an Indian immigrant who only sought American citizenship for his security clearance, years after I was born. My take is that Harry’s initial status in America was merely a resident alien, husband of an American citizen, and he likely applied for a green card and/or dual citizenship. The only thing the Mail gets right is that it takes a long time for green cards to be issued and you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get there. But he would have needed more than a green card application to take out a mortgage for the Montecito home, surely? He must have had some kind of visa at that point. The truth is, we’ll never know. I’m sure he has great immigration lawyers helping him though.

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75 Responses to “Did Prince Harry get an O-1 ‘extraordinary ability’ visa to stay in America & work?”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I assume he’s going for his green card but I also dont think we’ll ever know for sure. He definitely has some of the best immigration and business lawyers working for him (I’m assuming), so I think his immigration status is going to be fine, sorry to disappoint the British press.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      The staff employed by all the British press is so ignorant that they cannot even understand the UK immigration system, let alone that of another country.

      I agree he’s going for a green card (curiosity for CBers, USA immigration system has more flexibility and it’s less expensive than its British counterpart)

    • Ursaline says:

      Wouldn’t he already have some basis for Visa status from already having been in the states the many, many times he’s been here before? It doesn’t take more than a cursory Google search to see him being there with the U. S. president to figure that he’s legal in some way. If the Trumps can sell visas for condos, why can’t he be here for legitimate work and family purposes? The BM are up their own a55e5.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Short business visas and tourist visas have no impact on the outcome of other types of visa.

      • Ursaline says:

        AlpiineWitch, thank you for the clarification.

      • Nina says:

        He probably has a family visa. He is automatically allowed to stay as Meghan’s husband. Once he is cleared for a green card, he gets automatic right-to-work privileges. No O visa required. Given that he has a number of jobs, and is working, he already has a green card.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      I will post it again here but this bewilderment on the DM’s part is due to the fact that British citizens cannot bring their own spouses to live in the UK BEFORE the spouse visa is granted.

      There are a ton of married couples separated for months at any given time due to this, it is so infamous that it has a dedicated Twitter tag (which I now can’t recall as I left Twitter 3-4 years ago).

    • Me says:

      Harry is the spouse of a US citizen, which means he qualifies as an IR 1–essentially no waiting for a green card and all you have to really prove is that you are legally married to an AmCit (and not a criminal or public health hazard, etc.). Since Visa Processing is a lot faster than Adjustment of Status, my guess is they applied through the Consulate General in Toronto. He has no need to go through the extensive and time-consuming process of getting an O-1 approval.

      • Kkat says:

        Ha it is NOT that easy. My husband and I did it the proper way and it took over 3 years to get his green card. He came over the finial time on a fiancée visa, we had to be married within 60 days of him coming in.
        We had a very good immigration lawyer and it was still a huge f%ing nightmare.

        That three years we constantly had him being possibly deported and barred for reentry for 10 years minimum held over our heads. Even though by that point I was pregnant.

        And he was a butt white guy who speaks perfect english from Denmark. I can only imagine the horror if you are a POC having to deal with immigration assholes

      • liz says:

        @KKat – my cousin went through the same thing. She is a US citizen, born in Boston. Her husband is a white dude from Australia. They met when he was in the US on a student visa, getting his Master’s Degree. Getting him a green card was a nightmare that involved showing up to multiple interviews with their wedding album, even after they had two kids together.

      • Nina says:

        @Liz. The reason why your cousin’s husband probably had such a hard time was that he wanted to change from a J visa, which is a student visa to a family visa. The J visa requires that you return to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing your degree. It is intended to prevent people from coming to the US on a student visa and then marrying someone to gain a green card. Family visas are only a nightmare if you have situations like your cousin’s.

  2. fluffy_bunny says:

    Melania came over on the same type of visa so they aren’t hard to get if you are rich and connected. At least he’s being productive unlike our former FLOTUS.

    • Lizzie says:

      I thought Mel had H1B visa, the same special skills IT folks use.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        Pretty sure Melania used the genius visa. Not that I think she’s a genius or has any special skills.

      • booboocita says:

        Melania had the genius visa. You gotta admit, living with Cheeto long-term without losing your mind must require some sort of special skill.

      • Juniper says:

        H1B must be tied to a corporation and a specific job classification. It wouldn’t have applied in her case.

  3. Snuffles says:

    A fascinating subject, but ultimately none of our business. I’m sure to royal family would like to know only because they would look for ways to undo it.

    I have no doubt they tried EVERY possible angle to trap Harry and keep him from leaving the royal family. One day, many years from now, we will probably get the full story. Which I believe is chock full of political intrigue and narrow escapes.

    • lucylee says:

      Most definitely narrow escapes, coded conversations and perhaps trusted friends given the go ahead to act on their behalf. We may have been closer to a day of national mourning than we want to acknowledge.

      • Nina says:

        No, family visas are pretty straight forward as in Meghan and Harry’s case, where you have a U.S. citizen that can satisfy the support requirements of USCIS and the spouse has his own independent means of support. No intervention of powerful friends required.

    • Myra says:

      My same thoughts on this. None of my business.

      I’m still impressed with their escape. The way they explained it felt as if they went about it blindly and naively. Thankfully it worked out but it could have gone so so wrong. I hope some of the staff spill the beans one day. Not the senior ones plotting at KP but those in the background – not seen, not heard.

      • Snuffles says:

        Man, I just find it hard to believe that they were just flying by the seat of their pants the whole time. I mean, I can believe some things threw them for a loop but there HAD to be a plan. I think there was a Plan A, B and C.

        I think the only thing that threw Harry was the abrupt cutting off of security. I think Harry didn’t think his father would sink THAT low.

        I think as far as immigrating to another country and establishing a residence and setting up businesses in another country goes, they were working on that for a while.

    • Chelsea says:

      @snuffles: but i think covid threw everything into disarray. I don’t believe they were planning on leaving Canada that quickly. They probably thought theyd have more time to plan but the borders closing and their security being taken away on such short notice plus losing their commonwealth roles probably shot most of their plans to hell. Thankfully tor them Tyler Perry came in clutch and helped them get to the States and let them stay at his home with his security while they regrouped. But they were already so connected(Ted from Netflix admitted he already knew them both) it wasn’t hard for them to go to back ups to the back up plan. However if you look book at stories from that time it is clear that the RF thought they’d crippled them so badly they wouldn’t recover as there were lots of stories about ‘how will they payback frogmore?’ Etc and even Omid said on a podcast at the time that he thought they were broke, but they once again underestimated these two.

      That said: i do think they knew what they wanted Archewell Foundation to be from the start as evidenced by that early visit to Stanford and the consistent messaging last year. I just think the question of how exactly they were going to make money to sustain everything and where they were going to live was what was kind of up in the air for a hot minute.

  4. Elizabeth Regina says:

    I don’t care about the kind of visa he has. All in know is that he’s had to flee the toxicity of his extended family, the British establishment and the British press for his and his family’s own health and sanity. I pray he continues to thrive.

  5. Izzy says:

    My stepmom sponsored my green card and it took less than a year to go through. My citizenship was 14 months start to swearing in, and that’s only because of Hurricane Katrina.

    • Guest says:

      The family based green card application process is taking at least 12+ months currently. We’re seeing lag times on I-130 approvals of 8-12 months with another 4+ for the I-485 adjudication. N-400s are taking at least 12 months to get an interview scheduled. Immigration processing in 2020-2021 is incredibly slow but we’re choosing to be optimistic that under the new administration that will change.

  6. bloemheks says:

    You don’t have to be a permanent resident to get a mortgage. You just have to find a bank willing to do a loan. Per Forbes Harry and Meghan paid cash for half and financed the other half, which is a very good bet for any bank. If they had to foreclose at some point they wouldn’t just recoup the cost of the loan, but make a profit when they sold the property.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      Plus the fact that H&M owned the property previously would drive up the value.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    Isn’t this the “Einstein Visa” Melania Trump got?

    Methinks someone saw how the First Lady of Be Best got dragged– hard!– for that and is trying to get the plebs worked in the same way against Harry.

  8. lucylee says:

    the operative word in that piece is “could.”

  9. Louise177 says:

    Does it even matter? I don’t understand why this is a story. Plenty of international people work in the US. To me his status only matters if he tried for citizenship. That would be a huge shocker.

    • Snuffles says:

      It’s a story because they are literally obsessed with everything they do. But they are still stunned that Harry has made the transition to living and working in the US so easily. I seriously believe that THEY believed The Firm would be able to find some kind of legal, immigration loophole to force Harry to return to England.

  10. BearcatLawyer says:

    He will still have to pay US income tax on an O-1 visa. And while I don’t doubt that he could get this kind of visa, I think it’s far more likely Meghan sponsored him for a spousal green card. O-1s are time-limited and not exactly easy to get issued. He can remain a permanent resident indefinitely. He does not have to become a US citizen.

    • Cate says:

      I agree. I know some people who have gotten his visa and it’s kind of a PITA (though I’m sure Harry could afford to pay a good lawyer to handle all the BS), takes a while, etc. A spousal green card would be much faster and easier. This story sounds like 110% speculation to me.

      Also, as far as the mortgage goes, I am not an expert but as Meghan is a US citizen wouldn’t that have been sufficient?

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        Anyone can but property in the US and get a bank to give you a mortgage. He wouldn’t have a FICO for them to use which is probably why they had to put down so much money. When I worked in lending we had the ability to pull foreign credit files but rarely did it because it was a hassle. To lend to a foreigner we made them show us proof of assets.

  11. truthSF says:

    “But it is not yet known which visa Harry is on. His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.”

    The best and only factual part of this trash article!!

  12. lunchcoma says:

    You do not need to have any particular kind of visa to buy property in the US. You don’t need to even be living here. You just need someone who’s willing to lend you money, which is a problem for most of us but not for Harry and Meghan.

  13. Mich says:

    Different rules for business founders vs simple employment seekers. Forming Archewell and putting a few million of his own money in it would do the trick.

  14. Rapunzel says:

    The more I think about it, the more I think he must have gotten this Visa. After all, Harry has many extraordinary abilities. He has the extraordinary ability to:

    1. Make the BRF show it’s collective racisist ass.

    2. Make Piers and all other crusty old right wingers mad.

    3. Make the invisible contract between the RR and BRF visible from space.

    4. Make his brother incandescent with rage just by breathing.

    5. Outshine his whole family without breaking a sweat.

    Just to name a few.

    Yep, I’d give him that Visa.

    • Soupie says:

      😄😄😄 love this. So true. The first things I thought of were charisma, character, connections, and track record.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      🤣🤣🤣 spit my tea on this one!

    • Ursaline says:

      Same! Awesome comment, Rapunzel!

      He’s had a verifiable history to check his background and it isn’t as though he hasn’t paperwork for previous visits before he married Meghan. The Trump admin couldn’t even claim that stupid Public Charge crap on him, even if he wasn’t Anglo, rich, and royalty.

  15. Cecilia says:

    “But it is not yet known which visa Harry is on. His representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

    Thats cuz its none of y’all’s business. Whats a fact is that harry is there legally or they would have sent him back to the UK already.

    This obsession with harrys legal status is as strange as the obsession over the sussexes bankaccount and their income

  16. Amy Bee says:

    I guess the Daily Mail is trying to find out away to accuse him of violating US immigration laws. Whatever.

  17. lascivious chicken says:

    It would be very very very easy for him to get an O-1 visa tied to either his Netflix or Spotify deal or both. Everyday business in the entertainment industry and not even remotely a big deal.

  18. Pétulia says:

    It’s only me who don’t understand the fascination for his immigration status ? He is white,rich,a prince, married to an American with an american son. He was never going to struggle with that.

  19. Lanagen says:

    First if all, who cares?

    Second: “But he would have needed more than a green card application to take out a mortgage for the Montecito home, surely?”

    LOL wait did you actually think that? Literally anyone from anywhere can get a mortgage for a house, as long as a bank is willing to give it to you. There are ZERO residency/citizenship requirements.

    • equality says:

      You would think that they would realize that. Plenty of people own second homes in other countries. Did Andrew have Swiss citizenship to buy a chalet? They are just selling manure to the ignorant.

  20. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Harry is a rich famous white dude. Either way you slice it he will have no issues getting a green card and/or visa.

    • Oliphant says:

      Exactly- he’s privileged. This is what privileged people do. BIG SHOCK. What a nothing story.

  21. lowercaselois says:

    I work for an immigration attorney. I was surprised he needed a 0-1 visa , since Meghan is his wife and a US citizen , he can apply for a temporary green card on entry to the US. This can be converted to Permanent Residency work visa in 2 years. Either the gossip rags got it wrong or they are making this stuff up. You don’t have to be a Prince or married to a celebrity to get a temporary green card.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      I’m going to go with making it up.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      They are ignorant.

      They go by the British immigration system, which means the spouse of the citizen needs to stay out of the country while waiting for the visa, sometimes up to 18-24 months.

      That’s why they are acting surprised.

      • Ursaline says:

        Yet more efforts to claw him back and cash in on harassing him and his family.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Ursaline, curiously these stories always appear when the Epstein-Andrew connection gets traction again in the press.

    • Brandy Alexander says:

      Would you be able to work with a temporary green card though? I don’t really care what kind of visa/pass he has, I’m more just curious how immigration in general works. I work with someone who married a foreigner. It was a nightmare when she came to live here. They twisted an answer she gave at customs and made it look like she knowing entered illegally and they spent a small fortune on attorneys to undo it and get her her green card. She doesn’t work though, but that may be by choice, so I am curious if she would have even been able to.

    • Nina says:

      You right about that. Making up stuff to fill their pages.

  22. ElleE says:

    You know who has an inside track on Harry’s immigration status? Rupert Murdoch. Ask your boss

  23. Sofia says:

    Harry is rich, straight, Christian, white male from a Western country married to an American citizen. It will be comparatively easier for him to get a Visa compared to everyone else wanting it. Plus he can get some of the best tax/immigration/business lawyers to help him out.

    • Lemons says:

      Thank you for this! I mean, he’s a prince married to an actress, so I’m not worried about his immigration status. Immigration laws, while complicated, become pretty straightforward once you have the resources (money & lawyers).

  24. Villern says:

    Not really. If you are the spouse of an American citizen and apply while in the US under a valid visa, within three-five months you may have your green card ready (and I say that after having navigated that process as well). It can certainly take longer if the spouse lives abroad

    • AlpineWitch says:

      True but the Daily Heil staff is ignorant. They likely think a spouse visa in USA is like in UK where the foreign spouse cannot actually be on UK soil while waiting for the outcome of the British spouse visa application.

      In fact, there are like hundreds of married couples separated for months at any one time. British citizens aren’t allowed to bring their own spouses to the UK BEFORE the visa is granted.

  25. Veronica S. says:

    It wouldn’t matter either way because he has money and his wife is American. You can basically buy an American citizenship if you have a million or so laying around. I don’t really care how people do it, but I do think it should be more accessible to everybody else who wants to come here and contribute meaningfully.

  26. Dollycoa says:

    There are hundreds of British actors who pitch up in LA hoping for work who are there on work visas and are far less well known than Harry and probably have less work. Also hes a spouse of a US citizen. Who really cares about his immigration status apart from immigration officials? He would have to be incredibly dumb to publicly get a job illegally, so hes there and working legally.

    • Ursaline says:

      He was here legally all of the other times he’s been over here. He doesn’t blend.

  27. Midge says:

    I personally know about 50 people in NYC with this visa, including my ex who is a wine and spirits expert and friends who are models, designers and music producers.

  28. LBB says:

    Do we know that they took out a mortgage on their house and not just paid cash for it?

  29. El says:

    When my husband applied for a green card, there was a backlog and it took over a year. However he was able to apply for a work authorization to work in the US and a petition for advanced parole. The latter allowed him to re-enter the US if he left. He was already working under another visa, but when it expired he could still work and live in the US because of the pending green card application and work authorization.

  30. MangoAngelesque says:

    After leaving THAT toxic family, just grant the lad refugee status and call it a day.

  31. Ferdinand says:

    If I’m not mistaken, there’s also the rich people visa. Meaning that if you prove to have a million dlls in the bank and you’re willing to invest that money in the US, you’re welcome to stay. Which buying a house and making deals with Netflix and Spotify counts as investments. So there it is.