The O-1 visa is an excellent choice for noted athletes, artists, actors, scientists, business people, and musicians who wish to travel to the United States to live and work. This non-immigration visa allows holders to come to the United States with dual intent, bring their spouse and children, and renew their visa as needed. However, those who are considering the O-1 visa for extraordinary ability should understand that they need a sponsor to file the O-1 visa petition.
Who can be an O-1 visa sponsor?
- Your company or employer. This option is the most common and simplest for O-1 applicants. Whomever you will be working with in the United States will provide the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with some basic information about your job, including how long you plan to stay and what you will be doing.
- An individual agent who is a United States citizen or United States resident. Unlike some other work-related visas, your employer is not the only entity that can sponsor your immigration. Because the O-1 visa is often for artists, musicians, performers, and athletes who may be doing contract work or touring the country, an agent or manager is often the better choice for a sponsor.
To be the sponsor of an O-1 beneficiary, the agent or employer must provide the USCIS with a number of documents, including a signed contract outlining the beneficiary’s employment, information about the company and its history, and an itinerary of dates if the beneficiary is touring the country for work. Labor certification is not required for the O-1 visa.
If you have a job or series of jobs lined up within a three-year window in the United States, it should not be difficult to find a sponsor, whether you have one official employer or whether you are engaging in a series of gigs or performances in different locations across the country and are represented by a manager or agent. If you are unsure of who your sponsor should be, you may wish to speak with a California visa attorney.