If you are in the United States on an O-1 Visa and there are significant changes in your employment or it is terminated, you might be wondering how this will affect your visa status. When you are in the U.S. on an O-1 Visa, it’s important to understand the terms of employment you are bound to so that you can adjust accordingly if your employment changes. Read on to learn more about what to do when your employment situation changes while you are on an O-1 visa!
Material Change in Employment
When you file for an O-1 Visa, you generally get the visa to work for a specific employer and job. Or depending on your field of extraordinary ability, you might have filed the O-Visa with an agent and demonstrated various employment with different employers. In the latter case, you can add additional performances or engagements without needing to amend or file a new I-129 Petition. However, if there is a material change in your employment, your employer will need to file an amended I-129 Petition with the original service center. A material change includes but is not limited to:
- Switching to a worksite in a different city;
- Changing job titles and/or salary;
- Changing from part-time to full-time or vice versa;
- If your company undergoes a significant change, such as being merged with or acquired by another; and
- Ending your employment with your current employer.
Getting terminated would constitute one of these material changes and requires you take one of several courses of action since it impacts your O-1 Visa status.
What do I need to do if I get terminated or leave my job?
If you get terminated while you have O-1 status or the O-1 Visa, you have two options: 1) to leave the United States and return to your country of origin or, 2) to file a new O-1 Visa petition with your new employer. Termination invalidates your existing O-1 Visa status since your O-1 petition is contingent on a specific employer or job. To remain in the United States as an O-1 Visa holder, you will need to find a new employer before your current employment ends and have them file a new O-1 petition on your behalf so that your O-1 employment is continuous from one job to the next. For athletes specifically, if you transition from one team to another, you have up to 30 days at the new team to get your new O-1 petition in. In the case of multiple employers, if all of your projects with the various employers fall through, you will be considered to be out of status.
It is important that you either amend, file a new O-Visa with a new employer, or leave the U.S. depending on whether there are material changes in your employment, or your employment is terminated. An immigration attorney can help you explore your immigration options so that you do not risk violating any immigration laws.
If you would like to learn more about changing employers and options after employment changes or termination while on O-1 visa status, please contact us for an assessment.