Acting Advice

Ask Me!: Can I audition without the correct visa?

QUESTION FROM: Aidan Whytock
 Hi NYC Actor, Thanks for your blog – very insightful. I’m moving to NYC from Cape Town, SA, for 3 months as I have the opportunity to take up a room there. So I’m coming over to:1. Experience a new life and have a quick change from Cape Town.2. Finish editing a feature film script3. Sell a feature film

4. Have fun

I’d love to add acting to this list but I don’t have the O1B visa. Honestly I’d love to simply be able to audition. I’ve done my time in the SA acting industry and I’m signed to one of the respected agencies, I’ve shot a lot of commercials (including for the US market). So my question is: can I audition without an O1B visa and if so, how do you suggest I access these auditions? I may as well be seen and keep performing, even if I can’t book the work.

Have a great day Aidan Whytock.


First off, good for you! It sounds like you know exactly what you’re going to do during your visit here.

Next up, as an alien performer myself, unless you are being submitted by your SA agency (which you should inquire about) it is a terrible idea to audition for things you cannot do – whether for visa reasons or due to scheduling issues. That is the A#1 way to alienate yourself from casting directors.

If there is a way to use your agency at home to set up auditions for projects or meetings with producers/casting directors for future consideration, I’d suggest it. That way you can build your network here in a way that will actually benefit your career.

It’s a great misconception that you can be ‘discovered’ in the US just by showing up to auditions. Most discoveries are well-planned, tactical moves made by a whole team of professionals working for an actor. So, you’ll definitely do more harm than good by submitting yourself without consideration to the time you’ll be wasting – for yourself and all parties involved.

If you’re interested in seeing how you’ll be received here, but you cannot get your home agency involved, then I’d suggest doing some classes whilst you’re here. That way you will meet people in your field and potentially set up a few foundations on which to build a career here, if you so desire.

Thanks for asking.


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About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York.

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