Overview of the O-1 Visa Program

The O-1 visa program is a nonimmigrant temporary work visa for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in professions such as the arts, sciences, athletics, business, performing arts, and more. “Extraordinary ability” means that the visa holder must be at the top of their respective field. To demonstrate that you have extraordinary ability, you must provide proof that you have sustained national or international acclaim or a record of extraordinary achievement. Because the O-1 visa is a temporary work visa, it requires the applicant to have a sponsor for the petition.

Who is eligible to be your sponsor?

Although the O-1 visa is contingent on you finding employment in the United States, your sponsor does not necessarily have to be your employer. Your sponsor can be your actual employer, an individual who represents you and your employer, professionally, or someone who acts on behalf of you and your employer. Because a lot of the qualifying industries for O-1 visas involve agents who represent employees, your employer does not necessarily have to be from the U.S. However, the person you choose as your sponsor, whether it’s your agent or your employer, must be based in the U.S.

We Offer a Broad Range of Immigration Services

Contact us for an assessment with our O-1 visa lawyer. We are happy to help you obtain the visa that best suits your business and career goals.

O-1 Visa Agents

There are some key differences between petitioning for an O-1 visa as an agent as opposed to petitioning as an employer. To successfully petition for an O-1 visa applicant as an agent, you have to provide additional evidence to USCIS to demonstrate your legitimacy as an agent. This means clarifying whether you are applying as the employer or a representative of the employer, as well as demonstrating that you are a legitimate agent. You will also need to have a strong contractual agreement summary and proof of the contract between you and the beneficiary to help demonstrate that you are a qualifying agent.  

Self-Petitioning Option for Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur who owns a company, there is an option for you to self-petition for your O-1 visa. If you would like to learn more about this process, read our blog post O-Visa Option for Self-employed Entrepreneurs

Working for More than One Employer

It is extremely common for O-1 visa holders to work for multiple employers at the same time or to switch between different employers. If this applies to you, you will either need to have every employer file a separate petition or have a U.S. agent file one petition on your behalf.

If you plan to have multiple employers when in the U.S., it is a good idea to hire an agent so that you do not have to worry about multiple O-1 visa petitions. If you have an agent sponsor you for an O-1 visa for multiple employers, it is important to note that you will need to include a detailed itinerary and contact information for all employers in your application to USCIS.

Why hire an immigration attorney?

The requirements for O-1 visas can be complex and are subject to change. A qualified immigration attorney will help you ensure that you meet all the requirements, submitted everything correctly, and complied with immigration law. It’s important to work with a qualified professional when submitting an O-1 visa petition to have the best chance of approval. If you would like to learn more about the O-1 visa and how to obtain one, contact us for an assessment or consultation and check out our other blog posts on O-1 visas.


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