Unlike some other visas, in which the person petitioning for the visa is the immigrant himself, the O-1 visa for extraordinary ability requires that a sponsor petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The beneficiary of the O-1 visa (the person with the extraordinary talent) cannot also act as the petitioner (the person who is sponsoring the extraordinary talent).
While other work visas often require an employer to be the sponsor, this is not necessarily true in the case of the O-1 visa. Most beneficiaries are still sponsored by their company or employer, but others are sponsored by an individual United States citizen or permanent United States resident who acts as an agent. In some cases, a foreign employer working through a U.S. resident who acts as an agent can be a sponsor. Individual sponsors are common when a talent doesn’t have a single employer, but rather has an itinerary of events or is an independent contractor.
O-1 visa sponsorship can be more confusing and complex than other visa sponsorships.