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O-1 Visa: Everything You Need To Know

O-1 Visa: Everything You Need To Know

As a highly skilled individual in science, education, business, sports, film, or another type of art, you may be eligible for an O-1 visa, which is “for people with extraordinary ability or achievement” and allows you to enter the United States.

The O-1 visa is a specialized nonimmigrant status for foreign nationals with exceptional talent in particular professions, which their peers have acknowledged for their accomplishments. If certain conditions are satisfied, you are allowed to have an O-1 visa agent represent you, which is part of the unique nature of this visa.

Immigration law allows you to apply for an O-1 Visa for extraordinary skills with the assistance of an agent. The agent will make all the arrangements to begin your O Visa application through the established USCIS offices and consulates.

Although most O-1 visa petitions are submitted by traditional employers (where the worker is to carry out just one defined job for the duration of their visa with only one employer), you might need a visa to come to the United States to work for several companies.

It’s also possible that your employer does not qualify as a U.S. employer with the right to file a petition on your behalf. Let’s explore this article to better understand the guidelines for O-1 visa agents, whether you’re a beneficiary trying to employ one or a potential agent who wants to become their own agent.

For a more detailed explanation of this, however, we would always advise you to at least book a free consultation with an immigration attorney in Queens or an immigration attorney in NY. This will save you a lot of hassle and headaches, as well as a better understanding and result.

O-1 Visa Background

If you are unfamiliar with the O-1 visa, “extraordinary” may appear a little hazy and difficult to understand. Here is a brief explanation of this renowned visa and the benefits that come with it. First off, the USCIS divides those who are exceptional into two groups:


This category is reserved for people who can provide evidence of exceptionally outstanding accomplishments in business, sport, education, or science.

  • An internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize or an Olympic gold
  • A lesser-known honor that is acknowledged nationally or internationally
  • A membership in an organization that specializes in your field
  • Mentions of your published work in trade journals
  • Scholarly publications in your field that you’ve written
  • Other notable contributions to your field
  • Earning a high income
  • Sitting as a judge or member of a panel of judges for your peers
  • Holding key roles for prestigious organizations in your field


This subcategory honors those who have excelled in the fields of art, cinema, or theater. Having at least three of the following accomplishments will allow you to qualify: They include:

  • The lead or featured position in a project
  • A high salary that demonstrates your achievement
  • Received accolades for your accomplishments on a national or international level
  • The lead character or star-crossed role in a well-established organization
  • Published reviews of your work or projects you were a part of that attest to your success
  • Recognition of your accomplishments by prominent organizations in your industry

 As we stated earlier, you must provide proof of at least three requirements to be eligible for either visa. However, you can substitute it for all three requirements if you have received an internationally renowned honor, such as a Nobel Prize, Olympic Medal, Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, or Oscar.

If your O-1 petition gets approved, you will likely receive a three-year initial period of stay with the option of an unlimited extension until your project in the United States is completed.

Given the detailed nature of the O-1 visa requirements and the importance of what is frequently on the line when you apply for an O-1 visa, we strongly advise that you seek guidance from an experienced immigration attorney in Queens to help you through this process.

Who can sponsor you?

Although the O-1 visa is employment-based, your sponsor must not be your employer. Your sponsor may also be an O-1 visa agency, which is defined as:

  • Your actual employer
  • Someone who represents you and your employer professionally
  • An authorized representative of your employer

Your employer does not have to be based in the United States due to the employment of agents; however, to file a petition for a foreign beneficiary, the agent must be a U.S. agent. Some prospective O-1 beneficiaries, however, may choose to work for more than one company, which is also permissible with an O-1 visa.

If the beneficiary works for many companies, each employer may file a Form I-129 on the beneficiary’s behalf, which is one possibility for moving ahead. However, rather than having several employers file multiple O-1 applications, it may be more practicable for a single authorized agent to file on behalf of the beneficiary and several employers.

O-1 Visa Agent Requirements

The information above is particularly relevant for persons seeking an O-1 visa due to extraordinary ability and O-1 beneficiaries. We’ll now focus on people who want to act as agents for O-1 visa beneficiaries and employers. 

Filing as an employer is different from filing as an agent. You must provide the USCIS with additional evidence to establish your authenticity and your position as an agent.

For instance, you have to show, by Section 8 CFR 214.2(o)(2)(iv)(E), whether you are filing as the beneficiary’s functioning employer, whether you are filing on behalf of multiple employers that you represent for one beneficiary, or whether you are filing for a foreign employer.

Consult with your immigration attorney in NY for a free consultation to ensure that you follow all the requirements. Remember that you must submit the contractual agreement between you and the beneficiary. This agreement should include the agreed-upon wage and any additional terms and conditions.

This contract may be formed orally or in writing, but a description of the terms and conditions must be provided as a supporting document. Your description of the contract will be a crucial consideration in determining whether or not your agency is genuine, as these judgments are made on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, you are allowed to represent other employers throughout this period, so you are not required to be an exclusive agent for this particular employer. On the other hand, you are not required to have a reputation as an agent outside of this petition to be eligible. In essence, the beneficiary may or may not be your only client.

The O-1 visa is one of the few that allows a beneficiary to start their own company. Still, if the beneficiary owns all or a portion of a foreign company, that company may serve as the beneficiary’s employer, provided that the petition is filed through an authorized U.S. O-1 visa sponsor agent.

Working for More Than One Employer

In many O-1 cases, the beneficiary works for many employers, rotating from one to the next as the project progresses. The USCIS published a memorandum in 2009 addressing this situation’s complicated nature.

It states, “If the beneficiary works concurrently for more than one employer within the same period, each employer must file a separate petition with the Service Center that has jurisdiction over the area where the alien will perform services unless a U.S. agent files the O or P-1 petition.”

Because of this, utilizing a U.S. agent rather than a direct employer makes sense if the beneficiary will be working for several employers while in the country.

However, when acting agents submit petitions on behalf of direct employers, a number of restrictions apply, especially when acting agents operate on behalf of multiple employers. They are:

  • You must provide an itinerary detailing all the occasions and pursuits the beneficiary will partake in in the United States.
  • Include all the locations where the events or activities will occur, along with the employers’ names and addresses.
  • You must provide the contracts between you and the beneficiary and those between the beneficiary and their employer. The terms and conditions of these contracts should also be explained.

Getting the proper legal assistance 

One of the most distinguished nonimmigrant visas available is the O-1 visa, and as a result, the USCIS examines each case using highly stringent rules. Your application may be rejected if your present proof does not satisfy the evaluating officer.

By having an immigration attorney in NYC or, better still, a Queens immigration lawyer manage your case, you can be confident that everything was done correctly the first time, thereby preserving your investment.

Schedule a free consultation with our law firm and discuss your concerns with any of our Queens immigration attorneys immediately. Let our professionals work with you to secure your O-1 visa, enabling you to perform your profession lawfully in the United States.

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