The opportunity to work for multiple employers is one of the most advantageous perks of the O-1 visa. While many people are aware of this, only a few understand how it really works. This article explains the visa application process and the terms for working in the U.S. under the O-1 employment category.

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O-1 Visas represent a significant investment of time and money. The immigration lawyers at VisaNation Law Group have extensive experience helping people fulfill their dreams in the U.S. through the O-1 Visa. A 20-minute consultation today can put you on the right path towards visa approval.

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What is an O-1 Visa?

The O-1 visa is for highly skilled foreign individuals who have achieved national or global recognition in their respective fields. These individuals have gained recognition for their exceptional talent and accomplishments in their jobs. The visa classification has two subcategories, namely:

  • O-1A: For those who possess exceptional ability in the sciences, education, business or athletics
  • O-1B: For those who possess exceptional ability in the motion picture or television industry

The O-1 subcategories (O-1A and O-1B) have specific criteria set by USCIS for evidence required for each category. An applicant must satisfy at least three out of the eight in his or her subcategory. These requirements show that you are highly successful in your career and have important documents or awards to support your achievements.

Can an O-1 Visa Holder Work for Multiple Employers?

Yes, you can work for multiple employers on an O-1 visa. However, just like most other nonimmigrant work visas, your O-1 visa petition must be sponsored by an authorized U.S.-based person or organization.

You cannot technically self-petition for your O-1 visa. To work for multiple employers as a contractor or freelancer, either an agent or the employers must sponsor your O-1 visa. Hence, to work for various employers, your O-1 visa petition can be filed in two different ways:

  • Sponsored By An Employer: Each employer must have a job offer for you. You and the employers need to agree on the job description, wages, and other terms and conditions. Every employer needs to send a separate request to the USCIS, explaining the tasks you will do in your job.
  • Sponsored By an Agent: The O-1 visa agent could be your actual employer, an agent for multiple employers, or a representative of both you and the employer. This can be a more straightforward option as it will reduce the bottleneck of having multiple petition filings from different employers.

Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that all the activities and engagements you will perform are already captured in the petition(s) and will remain binding on your O-1 status. Engaging in employment or activities other than the specific items listed in your petition is a gross violation of your visa regulations, which is prohibited. If you feel in danger of compromising your O-1 visa status, speak with an immigration attorney today.

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How to Process O-1 Visa for Multiple Employers

Your agent will need to file an I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS. It is important to ascertain that the agent is duly authorized to act as a petitioner for the O-1 visa. An agent may act in the capacity of the actual employer, agent for multiple employers, or agent for foreign employers.

Agent Performing the Function of an Employer

A U.S. agent can be the actual employer of the O-1 visa beneficiary. This will depend on the contract that exists between the two parties. If your employment terms say the agent can control what you do, the agent may act like an employer.

If you are an artist or actor, your agent can be your employer. They should know your field and be able to help you find suitable jobs in the industry. The application must explain the specific connection between you and the agent. You must also have proof to support your statements.

To find out, your agent needs to provide the contract that states the job details and the specific wage offered. If you are going to work in more than one location, an itinerary of all your activities with dates and locations of work must also be provided. The contractual agreement is usually adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and as such must be a well-detailed document that establishes the relationship between the agent and the beneficiary.

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U.S. immigration is a painstaking and complex process. Securing the expertise of an immigration attorney well-versed in O-1 visas is crucial to avoiding minor errors that could prevent you from realizing your American dream. Schedule a 20-minute consultation with VisaNation Law Group attorneys and we will make sure you are fully prepared for your journey.

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Agent for Multiple Employers

An O-1 visa petition involving multiple employers may also be filed by an agent acting as a representative of both the employee and the petitioner. There must be supporting evidence showing that each of the employers involved gave the agent the mandate to represent them. The supporting documentation must also include:

  • A complete itinerary of the events for the engagements or services for each of the employers
  • The itinerary must specifically give the dates of each service, as well as the addresses and names of the actual prospective employers, and the names and addresses of the venue, establishment, or locations where the services will be performed
  • The contract between the beneficiary and each of the employers

O-1 Visa Success Story British actor

What Type of Multiple Employments Can I Do on an O-1 Visa?

As explained above, the O-1 classification covers a wide range of fields of human endeavor, and each visa petition is processed and issued based on the individual applicant’s experience and skill set. Therefore, you can do any work for any of your multiple employers, provided it is listed in the itineraries submitted to and granted by the USCIS.

If the situation warrants that you make “material changes” to any of the activities on the itineraries or the contractual agreement, you may need to submit an amended petition to the USCIS through your employer.

Material Changes in O-1 Contractual Agreement

According to the O-1 regulations, you must duly notify the USCIS and receive approval before you can make any material change to your contractual agreement. Here is where many O-1 workers and employers get confused as it can be difficult sometimes to determine if a change is “material” or “immaterial.” We recommend that you always seek your immigration lawyer’s advice before taking any steps toward this.

Changing Employers on an O-1 Visa

The O-1 visa guidelines allow you to add new employers or change employers. To do this, the new prospective employer must file a petition with the USCIS. If your initial petition was sponsored by an agent, the agent would need to file an amended petition with the evidence relating to the new employer. The new petition or amended petition may also be submitted with a request for an extension if you would need more time on the job than your current period of stay allows.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

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The O-1 visa is one of the most complex immigration processes, especially if you are planning to work for multiple employers. Every document and claim in your petition would be subject to more scrutiny than the regular applicants. VisaNation Law Group has a team of highly qualified immigration lawyers with a vast knowledge of the O-1 jobs and visa application process. They have helped countless other applicants successfully process and acquire their O-1 visas through our firm.

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