Compared to most nonimmigrant visas, working on an O-1 visa is fairly flexible. However, there are some work restrictions attached to this type of visa, and it is important to understand these restrictions.
Many people assume that similar to an EB-1 green card, they can sponsor their own O-1 visa application because both types of applications are based on extraordinary abilities. However, the law states that an O-1 visa application must be sponsored by an employer or an O-1 visa agent. An O-1 visa agent is someone who professionally represents you and your employer. There are a few exceptions to this requirement.
Holders of O-1 visas may change employers or work for multiple employers. However, there are some restrictions on this practice. If you wish to change employers, your new employer must submit a new I-129 to the USCIS. If your O-1 petition was submitted by an agent, then an amended petition with evidence from your new employer must be submitted. There must also be a request for an extension of stay.
Your employment as an O-1 visa holder is restricted only to the activities and events spelled out in the visa petition that was granted. Any activities outside this job description must be submitted to USCIS as part of your visa application. Employment under the O-1 visa must begin on the date specified in the granted petition and must end on the specified date.
If there is a material change to the terms and conditions of your employment, then your employer must submit an amended O-1 petition. Some smaller changes may not require an amended petition, but it is required if the change is material. There can be confusion regarding what types of changes are considered material and immaterial. Working with an immigration attorney can help you navigate this question.
Applying for an O-1 visa can be complicated, and you may want the help of an immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a consultation.