Questions and Answers: O-1 Visa Petitioning Entity, Process and Qualifications
The following information was gathered from the immigration attorneys we have been working with. Please note that we are not an immigration lawyer, but a music, film, dance and art production company.
Why do I need an O1 visa Petitioner? You can not petition for yourself. You must have a US petitioner to ask the visa in your name and the name of your future employers (engagements / work / gigs)
Can I work with multiple employers / gigs / engagements? Yes. Since we act as your O1 Visa Petitioner who represents not only you, but all your multiple future employers, it gives you the flexibility and freedom to work within your field.
Who can be my employer? Any person or a company who invites you to work with them in the US is your employer. That can be a one time gig, a steady weekly engagement, or a daily paid task.
What kind of O1 visa petitioners are possible, and which is most suitable for artists? In general there are two types of US petitioners for O1 Artist Visa: Employer or Agent Representative (not to be confused with Agent Functioning as an Employer, which falls within the Employer kind).
If your petitioner is, by the USCIS published instruction, is an Employer (or even Agent Functioning as an Employer), you may lose your visa if the sponsorship stops. Why would the petitioner stops the sponsorship? That can happen for variety of reasons. For example: due to professional or personal disagreements, or due to financial disputes between you and your petitioner. Once your petitioner stops the sponsorship, your visa is cancelled and you are left without status, and therefore must leave the US within 10 days.
On the other hand, if you are sponsored by us, even if you have a dispute with one or few of your employers, you may be able to stay in the US and continue working for your other employers / jobs / gigs in your field. We may notify the USCIS that one of the employment stopped, while the other approved employments are still in place, and even file an amended petition, if needed. That means that your visa is not dependent on one employer, which is great news for you, and can give you a piece of mind.
Can Mastery Productions LLC also act as the Agent for Foreign Employer? Yes. This option will allow the beneficiary (you) to work in the US for a foreign employer through our representation / sponsorship.
What do I need to prepare in order to get the O1 visa? Apart from the evidence of your career, you will need to meet the employment requirements set by the USCIS while in the United States. These include:
1) Contracts between the actual employers and yourself; and, an explanation of the terms and conditions of the employment with necessary documentation.
2 ) A complete itinerary of events indicates the dates of each service or commitment, names and address of the actual employers, and the establishments, or locations where the services will be performed. This itinerary is simply based on the contracts mentioned above.
Do I qualify for the O1 Visa? Generally speaking, we hear from the lawyers we work with that If you have an active career, and it is well publicize and documented, you may qualify for the O1 Artist Visa. Simply gather all the evidence of your career (magazines, newspapers, Internet, publications, listing, reviews, flyers, etc) and present it to an immigration lawyer / visa professionals to estimate your chances.
Why has Mastery Productions LLC been so successful with O1 sponsorship? First, we are an active production company, with real artistic vision and numerous produced events annually, including just few weeks ago in 2020. We have the good faith intent of working with the O1 applicant in the capacity stated as a representative as needed by the USCIS regulations. We will also prepare the required signed contract between you (the beneficiary) and us (the petitioner) covering you for the next 3 years (the maximum time offered for an O-1 visa). When requested by the USCIS, we have provided details that most companies are not comfortable to share, such as IRS tax identification number, NY State LLC registration, number of employees, date of formation, and gross and net annual income.
Do I need to get paid through my petitioner? If your petitioner is your Agent Representative (not Employer) you can be paid directly by your actual employers, and not by your petitioner.