Should I file my O-1 visa with an Agent-Petitioner or an Employer-Petitioner?

Who can acquire the O-1 visa?

 

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the 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 recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

 

Without a Petitioner/Sponsor, individuals can not apply for the Visa.

 

What is an Employer-Petitioner?

 

An employer-petitioner is a single employer that petitions for (represents) the Beneficiary. The Beneficiary is obligated to work for only that employer during the O-1 validity period.

 

What or Who is an Agent-Petitioner?

 

An agent can be a US company, a US citizen, or a Green Card Holder (with at least a six month validity period).

 

The Agent-Petitioner enables the Beneficiary to work for multiple employers during the O-1 validity period.

 

An Agent-Petitioner vs an Employer-Petitioner?

 

There are differences between both types of petitioners when trying to acquire an O-1 Visa.

 

An Employer-Petitioner is both the petitioner and the employer, meaning that the Beneficiary cannot have multiple employers during the O- validity period. To file the O-1 visa with an Employer-Petitioner, an employment agreement signed by both parties is required.

 

The Agent-Petitioner is the petitioner and can also be the employer. However, the Beneficiary can  work for multiple employers. To file the O-1 visa with an Agent-Petitioner, an agent agreement and multiple work contracts (or letters of intent) are required. Additionally, an itinerary of all the future employment engagements is also necessary.

 

What is an Itinerary?

 

A petition which requires the Beneficiary to work in more than one location must include an itinerary with the dates and locations of work. There are no exceptions to the itinerary requirement when the petition is filed by an agent. However, USCIS does give some flexibility to how detailed the itinerary must be and does take into account industry standards when determining whether the itinerary requirement has been met.  As such, the itinerary should at a minimum indicate what type of work the Beneficiary will be engaged, where, and when this work will take place.